Our Backstory

The founding Madison-based team members:

Jesse Darley (Delve)

Brian Ellison (Midwest Prototyping)

Lennon Rodgers (University of Wisconsin – Madison)

It all started when the university hospital contacted me on Monday, March 16th asking if I could make 1000 face shields for them. I didn’t truly understand the situation until I came home that night and my wife, who’s an anesthesiologist at the hospital, confirmed the critical need. So I went to Home Depot and craft stores that night to gather materials, and went into the UW Makerspace to create a prototype. I brought a prototype home to solicit some feedback from my wife. Next day I reached out to Jesse and Brian and that’s when it really started to take off. We received samples of existing face shields from the hospital and watched my wife’s training videos that showed how all of the PPE works together. We wanted to create a design that could be mass produced quickly, cheaply and be familiar to healthcare professionals. So we decided to try to improve the current design through multiple prototypes / iterations and feedback from the hospital. Then we did the following in parallel:

[1] Released the v1 design as Open Source and tried to get the word out through social media.

[2] Tested low scale production at Midwest Prototyping.

[3] Built out the supply chain (plastic, elastic, foam).

[4] Created a website and intake form for healthcare facilities in need (link).

After a couple days of doing the [2] and [3], Midwest Prototyping delivered ~1000 shields to the university hospital plus a few other hospitals for feedback.

Now our partner list has grown (link) and we’re hoping that millions are made if there’s need. The current larger producers will likely be Midwest Prototyping, Summit Medical and Ford Motor Company. But we’re also communicating with teams across the US and the world (e.g. Organizations in the UK, Engineers Without Borders).

The State of NY has asked the federal government for 45 million face shields by April 1 (link).