BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE
Introducing our new series: Giving, Dil Se in the Time of COVID-19
Atlanta, GA, April 24, 2020: As the Covid-19 wave swept across the world, people panicked. Some hoarded groceries, some lived in denial, and some chose to answer a higher calling – to find ways to be of service to another. It is truly heartening to see and hear about ways people extended their hearts to help those in need.
Little drops of water make a mighty ocean and every little thing counts. Whether it was as simple as staying home to contain the virus or raising funds and getting out there to serve mankind, the Indian-American community has truly lived up to its reputation of being model citizens.
In our series titled Giving, Dil Se in the Time of COVID-19, we will feature contributions of Indian-Americans who rose to the challenge and placed service ahead of self.
We understand there are numerous such contributions and we may or may not be able to feature them all, but we certainly recognize their services and sacrifices. Take a bow, NRI community!
In our first story, we feature the MightyMask Project, which was initiated by Vajraang Kamat, a senior at Georgia Tech, who came up with the idea to manufacture 3D-printed face masks to distribute to hospitals across the US facing personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages amidst the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kamat and his parents invested in 13 3D printers and partnered with Every Child Counts organization.
A team of 40 volunteers cut the filters and assemble the masks. These masks can be disinfected and reused. They use HEPA filters with a MERV rating of 16. So far, the team has sent out four shipments to New York hospitals and one shipment is on its way to Dodge County Hospital in Eastman, GA .
The idea for the project began only on April 1, 2020 and molded quickly.
With the intention to help out the healthcare community during the crisis, Kamat explored various avenues and zeroed in on making 3D print masks at home. Having worked with 3D printers at GT and with GeorgiaTech Motor Sports helping build sports cars, Kamat drew up a plan to experiment with making masks at home.
Wasting no time, he bought a used 3D printer on Facebook Marketplace that same evening.
Along with a friend, he worked overnight to design and print the first mask, which he tweaked over the next couple of days with inputs from his parents’ friends, who happened to be doctors. That Friday, the father-son bought home 10 unassembled 3D printers. The weekend was spent in assembling the printers, prepping the basement to make space for production and by Sunday evening, all the printers were printing mask shells. And within a week of the initial idea, on April 8 th, the MightyMask team made their first shipment of 25 masks to SUNY Downstate Hospital in Brooklyn, NY. Inspired by their feedback, the team is continuing their efforts to send out masks to more hospitals.
The MightyMask Project core team includes Vajraang Kamat, Bindu Balakrishnan, Partha Sarathi Patra, Nalini Kataria, Samir Kamat, Prayma Letchumanan, Chandan Hebbale, Sradha Khuntia and Chetan Hebbale.
If you wish to contribute to their efforts you may check https://www.facebook.com/foreverychildcounts/ or https://donorbox.org/making-n-95-masks. Volunteers are also requesting for 3D printers, Weather Seal Tape, OSHA Compatible Kit, 5-Layer HEPA Material Pleated Paper Filter.
You may also help by Help by purchasing, cutting and bagging the filters, details provided at https://www.everychildcounts.net/how-to-cut-the-filter. If you own a 3D printer, and are willing to help you can contact volunteers at firstname.lastname@example.org.