Medicine student

Medical student uses 3D printers to create masks for homeless people

people fall through the cracks during the pandemic. “

Levine, who lived in Miami before arriving at the College of Medicine in July, said the experience made him think about how he could help solve this problem. Being a huge fan of 3D printing – at the time he had two 3D printers in his apartment – Levine found a way to produce masks. After hosting a GoFundMe fundraiser, he and his two brothers, who were also heavily involved in the project, purchased three more 3D printers and supplies to make reusable plastic, elastic and rubber masks.

Each mask took about eight hours to produce, and Levine said the printers were working 24 hours a day, seven days a week. What started as a project to produce a few hundred masks ended with Levine, his two brothers and community volunteers who distributed 1,000 masks by Christmas. He said he was also able to educate the people he masked about COVID-19 using brochures he and his two brothers created as well as information on healthcare clinics. free health.

“What was really rewarding was going back to the area where we handed out the masks a week later and seeing people still wearing them,” Levine said.

Levine and his brothers tweaked the design of the masks on several occasions, adding an airtight rubber gasket, a proprietary backplate, which rests against the back of a person’s head to relieve mask tension, and a mechanism for easy replacement of vacuum air filters. Because of the vacuum filtration of air, the masks can also function as respirators, he said. He has completed research, currently under peer review, that shows 3D masks are similar in effectiveness to N95 masks, with the added benefits of durability and reuse.

Levine says he plans to major in plastic surgery and is focusing on integrating 3D printing into plastic surgery research he is completing at the College of Medicine. He also founded the 3D Printing Club at the College of Medicine. As for the mask making experience, he said it was an amazing opportunity, and he is now looking for a new project.

“It was gratifying to help an underserved and often marginalized segment of the population,” he said. “The project inspired me to pursue more philanthropic initiatives and I was overwhelmed by the community support I received. It started as a family project, but quickly grew into a community project to make a difference in the lives of homeless people.