Before Hawaii transitioned to online distance learning, COVID-19 was raging in the state. To help protect the vulnerable members of the islands, including elderly, medical staff, and patients with chronic illnesses, the State of Hawaii asked all government IT employees to help produce face shields. Garrett Hatakenaka, a former state government employee and lifelong local, was excited to contribute to his community at a crisis time.
Since its inception in 2009, 3D printing technology has evolved significantly; its applications have broadened to many fields, including medical and military uses. Using the state’s guidelines and help from medical professionals in Hawaii, Hatakenaka adopted modern 3D technology to produce the prototype. “I constructed the three-dimension object from a CAD model and deposited the powder grains for various processes under computer control to create a 3D object,” Hatakenaka said. “It is so cool, it is printed layer by layer and then solidified to become a 3D object.” He first scanned ordinary masks into a computer, allowing his 3D printers to configure the shape. Then, he printed the face shields using Resin and powder grains as the raw materials.
Hatakenaka produced 110 face shields in total for 2 months and sent them to the state government. The government then supplied his shields to medical staff and those who require additional protection. The timing was just right, as stocks of face shields and other personal protective equipment (PPE) were facing critical shortages, and medical staff urgently needed the supplies.
Technology has no boundaries, and its applications have no limit in the right hands. Hatakenaka leveraged his technology skills to produce face shields efficiently and promptly. Hatakenaka’s commitment to our community’s safety is clear, and his efforts will only help us endure this unforeseen pandemic.