By Cassie Wilcox, Instructional Innovation and Technology
The EXLAB makerspace at Georgia State University is helping to make and supply Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to be used by healthcare and other vital workers, as well as vulnerable community members, during the shortage caused by COVID-19. Working in cooperation with other makerspaces and maker organizations across Georgia, EXLAB volunteers and resources are contributing to create items like face shields and masks.
Through participation in Atlanta Beats Covid, an organization that brings together makers across the state, EXLAB resources have been matched with the needs of healthcare providers and first responders to construct PPE from donated materials that meet specific requests. EXLAB’s laser cutters and 3D printers are being used to generate components for face shields. The resulting face shields are then distributed through the Atlanta Beats Covid network to area hospitals and doctor’s offices in need of the equipment. “We’re glad to be able to leverage EXLAB’s tools for making and connections to the maker community to help in ways we can during this time,” said Lee Webster, director of learning and production environments at Georgia State’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), of EXLAB’s participation in the initiative.
EXLAB volunteers are also making fabric masks to supply to essential Georgia State employees as well as to distribute to medical facilities through Sewing Masks for Area Hospitals – Atlanta (SMAH Atlanta). Working with SMAH Atlanta, EXLAB volunteers are making fabric masks that fit criteria vetted by facilities in need and which can be donated through the organization.
“Masks are needed and in short supply. We are doing what we can to assist SMAH in their growing effort to aid medical workers. In addition to offering our time to sew masks, we’re providing information to help the university community and beyond to make their own masks and to participate in volunteer efforts,” said Liz Chavarria, assistant manager of experiential learning labs at CETL, who is leading EXLAB’s initiatives to produce PPE. Instructions and tutorials on how to create a mask or make a mask to donate through the SMAH Atlanta initiative can be found on EXLAB’s website at exlab.gsu.edu.