Hundreds of personal fabric masks, PPE Face Shields and Ear Protectors plus two 3D-printed intubation training models have been produced by members of the Annapolis Innovation Lab and delivered to health care professionals and members of the public, locally and across Canada.
Tiny, historic Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, the smallest town in Canada, (population approaching 500) is home to a modern new Library with a very high tech public ‘maker space’ housing a suite of computer-based tools and related applications available for use by members of the public for ‘innovative projects’. Usually the Lab tools and facilities are used for technical and educational workshops, model prototyping projects (3D architectural models for building and renovation projects), laser cutter (Cricut) stenciling projects for everything from T-shirt decals to industrial etching stencils, quilting and fabric arts projects or Robotics workshops and competitions organized by our World Champion High School Robotics team.
Since mid-March the Library and the Innovation Lab facility have been closed, but several Lab members are using some of the Lab tools from home to fabricate PPE equipment for health care professionals or for other people at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 3D printer experts at the Lab have created a local manufacturing network for PPE equipment which is currently utilizing the Lab printer plus a number of private home 3D printers to turn out over 2000 ear savers, 162 face shields plus 2 airway intubation training models delivered to our local community so far, all at no cost to the users.
The PPE items have been delivered to nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and VON nurses in the Annapolis Valley and Western Nova Scotia. The lab has shipped items to PEI and has had inquiries from as far away as Alberta and Saskatchewan. They have also shared their design files with a doctor in Saskatchewan so he could print them as well. This PPE equipment can be viewed and ordered through our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/annapolisinnovationlab
In addition, another Lab member is using the Janone heavy duty sewing machine, part of the fibre arts work center in the Lab, to produce personal face masks for use by the general public. She has made just over 200 masks. They have gone to a local grocery store, Annapolis Royal and Bridgetown Food Bank volunteers, a women's shelter, a company making components for medical-grade supplies and PPE, and many individuals. In Nova Scotia, they have been sent from Truro to Yarmouth. They have been sent to other provinces and some have even been sent to Italy! Just recently a large order has been received for masks to be distributed to local seniors. Masks can be viewed and ordered through the mask project FB page at https://www.facebook.com/onceandagainapparel.
While we look forward to returning to the full schedule of activities and workshops at the Innovation Lab once the Library system reopens, the Innovation Lab board is very pleased that the Lab tools and the skills of our members are being applied to such important work during this challenging time.
The Board of the Annapolis Innovation Lab