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Rapid Response to Acute Humanitarian Crises

Santa Clara University’s School of Engineering has several programs that address humanitarian themes, such as the projects run through Engineers Without Borders and the Frugal Innovation Hub. A new Robotic Systems Laboratory initiative focuses on the use of advanced technologies to address acute humanitarian needs associated with natural and man-made disasters, pandemics, refugee migrations, and the aftermath of regional conflicts.

One of the program’s first projects involves manufacturing key parts of medical face shields for local hospitals. This work is being performed by faculty, staff and students, using 17 3D printers in the School’s Maker Lab and an open source design by 3D printer manufacturer Prusa. Partners in this effort include a local community maker group, MakerNexus, which is assembling the shields, and the Valley Medical Center Foundation, which is sanitizing and distributing shields to local hospitals. The current production capacity for this effort is ~2,000 face shield components each week; we have requests to provide thousands of these sets throughout the Spring of 2020. We delivered our 10,000th bottom reinforcement for face shields during our 7th week of production. In addition to the face shields, we are using the scrap material to produce Ear Savers to provide relief from wearing masks with elastic. We are also exploring the manufacture of additional medical products and protective equipment for adoption in the near future.

Face shield parts being printed in Maker Lab

Face shield parts ready for delivery to Maker Nexus

Student removes face shield parts from 3D printer

Student removing face shield parts from 3D printer

For questions regarding donations to this program, please contact Mary Coady at

Contact Us

Director: Dr. Chris Kitts

Santa Clara University
School of Engineering
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053

Guadalupe Hall, Bldg. 455, 3rd Floor