Amazon develops NIH-approved face shield for healthcare workers

Amazon employees have developed and refined a face shield designed for use by medical professionals, helping protect them from the novel coronavirus behind COVID-19. The face shield started out as a small community project that soon caught the attention of an Amazon employee who got other workers on board with the effort. Soon enough, a refined face shield was developed and it has since received approval by the NIH.

A face shield differs from a face mask — both are often used together, with the face mask going over the user's mouth and nose, whereas the shield is clear and is positioned in front of the user's face. When combined, the two elements help protect medical professionals from contracting and spreading the virus behind COVID-19.

The quick rise of the pandemic, as well as the lack of proper preparations and similar issues, resulted in a mass shortage of personal protection equipment like face shields. This prompted a response from 3D printing communities who utilized their hardware to print headbands for face shields, reusable masks, and other items.

For its part, Amazon says that engineers and other professionals from its workforce got together and started 'contributing solutions to this growing problem.' The experts made design upgrades to the existing design, ones based on feedback from healthcare workers who had used the masks.

This included making them reusable, reducing sharp edges, thinning the forehead band, and similar tweaks. Amazon has repurposed some of its manufacturing facilities to produce these face shields, with more than 10,000 units already donated and another 20,000 set for delivery in the near future. The company will start selling the face shields at cost on, as well