So far, we have seen Apple making tech gadgets, including the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac and other accessories. Now, the company will make face shields to help medical workers in their fight against the coronavirus. A few media reports have already tagged this face shield from Apple as the iShield.
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On Sunday, Apple CEO Tim Cook in a tweet informed about this face shield. Cook said that Apple plans to make more than a million face shields by the end of this week. These shields, according to Apple's CEO, will first be distributed to U.S. medical workers, and then shipped worldwide.
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Apple is dedicated to supporting the worldwide response to COVID-19. We’ve now sourced over 20M masks through our supply chain. Our design, engineering, operations and packaging teams are also working with suppliers to design, produce and ship face shields for medical workers. pic.twitter.com/3xRqNgMThX
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) April 5, 2020
Cook informed that all needed parts are in place, including designers, engineers and suppliers, to come up with the face shields. The material for the shield is sourced from both China and the U.S. As per Cook, the first shipment of its face shields was delivered last week to some Silicon Valley hospitals.
"Our first shipment was delivered to Kaiser hospital facilities in the Santa Clara Valley this past week, and the feedback from doctors was very positive," Cook said in a tweet. Cook even showed one of the shields (in the tweet above), which can pack flat, ship 100 to a box, “assembled in less than two minutes and is fully adjustable.”
Apple’s iShield is not the only contribution from the tech giant in the fight against coronavirus. Cook informed that it had sourced more than 20 million masks and is working with the authorities to distribute them. Further, he noted that Apple’s global supply chain is working to supply these masks.
Currently, all of Apple’s corporate employees in California are working from home, while its retail stores outside China are closed.
Other tech firms making face shields
Doctors across the country have raised concern over the shortage of protective equipment, such as face shields and masks. Apple by providing both these medical gear, is surely making a valuable contribution in the fight against COVID-19. Not to forget, Apple has also come up with a COVID-19 website and app. The website and the app include a screening tool and other relevant information about the coronavirus.
Apple is not the only tech company working on providing protective shields to the medical workers. Several 3D printing companies are already producing this protection gear using their tools.
For instance, INKSmith, a Canadian startup, has shifted to producing face shields, and is hiring up to 100 new employees to meet the heavy demand. The company makes and designs tech tools for kids.
In a statement to Canadian news outlet Global News, INKSmith CEO Jeremy Hedges said that in the “short term, we’re going to scale up to meet the needs of the province soon. After that, we’re going to meet the demands of Canada.”
Other 3D-printing companies that are making personal protective equipment for medical workers include names such as Massachusetts-based Markforged and Formlabs, and Brooklyn’s Voodoo Manufacturing.
Automakers using vehicle parts to make ventilators
Apart from protective equipment, many companies are also making ventilators to aid doctors. Automakers, including Tesla, GM and Ford are retooling facilities to produce these life-saving machines. These automakers are using parts for the vehicles to make these machines as these car parts are already or easily available to them.
Tesla, in a recent video, provided a behind-the-scenes look at its ventilator design process. The video showed that the Model 3 infotainment system is being used by Tesla in the ventilator. This infotainment system powers the Model 3 computer and helps to control air flow. Other parts that Tesla engineers are using are the suspension air tank (as the oxygen mixing chamber), and Model 3 touchscreen (as a controller).
Other automakers have also pledged support in the fight against coronavirus, either by donating supplies or providing resources to make ventilators. Ford is working with GE to boost ventilator production. The automaker is also using its own resources to make vents, respirators and face shields. GM, on the other hand, is producing ventilators at an Indiana-based car factory. Also, it recently announced that it would make 50,000 face masks a day.
UK-based defense firm Babcock also plans to manufacture 10,000 ventilators to support the doctors treating COVID-19 patients. Also, Dyson, the firm headed by British inventor Sir James Dyson, has got a government order for 10,000 ventilators. Further, in the UK, about 1,400 3D-printer owners have come forward to use their machines to make face masks for the NHS (National Health Service), a publicly-funded healthcare system of the United Kingdom.