The garage is humming with the sounds of machinery and ventilation, just a few decibels above normal on an otherwise quiet street. It’s Easter Sunday, and Adam Ward is behind a laser cutter—stabilized on two closet doors serving as makeshift tables—that is churning out plastic face shield after face shield for local health care workers.
Ordinarily the equipment would be used to make housings for environmental sampling sensors for O’Neill School researchers like Ward and Todd Royer. But these aren’t ordinary times.
Instead, Ward and two Indiana University colleagues—the School of Education’s Adam Maltese and the Jacobs School of Music’s Mark Smith—have pooled resources to lend a bit of help to those in need.
“We have the capabilities, we own the equipment, and our administration was supportive of us repurposing it for a rapid response,” Ward said. In addition to the face shields, Ward is 3D printing “combs” that connect the loops of a face mask behind their head. The simple device provides comfort to those wearing the masks for multiple hours a day.
“We just asked ourselves, ‘What are the things we can do to help?’” Ward said.