It all started with Katie, a Charlotte Latin high school student.
On March 17, Katie's father, a doctor, complained about a shortage of face masks at his hospital. Katie then reached out to Tom Dubick, the Engineering Educator at Charlotte Latin, to see if it was possible for them to create something to assist. Tom Dubick decided to take on the challenge and thus, Charlotte MEDI was born.
"What we did is we started first working on a mask that goes up close to your face and a shield. Talking to the doctors, we pivoted pretty quickly to 'Hey, we can make shields. We can make them and we can make them fast,'" Tom Dubick explains. He continues, "We started 3D printing them and once we felt pretty good about our design, went and got in touch with local injection molding companies."
Injection molding changed the game for shield creation. Dubick says, "If you wanted four of these visors on a 3D printer, it would take you about eight hours" but injection molding "creates four of them in a minute." As of April 9, 20K shields were created. That is 20K shields in about 20 days that were delivered to health care facilities and workers in North and South Carolina.
Christoph Khouri of Charlotte MEDI talks about the importance of community involvement in their mission, saying, "The Charlotte community has really stepped up and offered services, time, money, people to really focus on this." For example, 2ULaundry was essential in helping them deliver their shields to about 100 different locations quickly. He continues, "Their response to this, if you will, was 'we were looking for a way to help.' That has been a resounding kind of comment we've had. People want to help."
As of today, Charlotte MEDI will have shipped out over 50, 000 face shields.