Amazon (AMZN 3.60%) has started mass producing face shields for the medical community, aiming to make hundreds of thousands of them available in the coming weeks.
The idea was spurred on by an Amazon program manager in early March who heard about a group of 3D printing enthusiasts inWashington who were making face shields for frontline workers. The Amazon employee reached out to colleagues in the company's drone unit, and within one week, the team took the initial design and improved upon it, making the shields reusable, adding enhancements to keep them in place, and making them more comfortable to wear.
"When you think of Amazon you don't naturally think of hardware design. But many teams across the company specialize in this discipline," wrote Brad Porter, Amazon's robotic's lead, in a blog post, noting that upgrades to the face shield design were based on feedback from medical professionals. Since then, the tech stock has donated close to 10,000 face shields and is gearing up to deliver 20,000 more to protect healthcare workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic. Amazon said it will sell the face shields on its website at cost.
"Because of the design innovations and the capabilities of our supply chain, we are confident we will be able to list them at a significantly lower price – almost a third of the cost – than all other reusable face shields currently available to frontline workers. We are looking to prioritize frontline workers and then eventually open up to all Amazon customers," Porter said.