After learning of a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers, three student members of the Milpitas Xtreme Robotics team with 3D printers immediately shifted gears and began producing face shield braces.
Since then, MXR Vice President Kalino Ruiz, as well as team members Nick Azpeitia and Rakesh Mehta, have printed more than 200 face shield parts for local hospitals.
“We look forward to the day when COVID-19 is no longer an issue for us all. But until then, we hope to do what we can to help fight coronavirus,” said MXR President Chloe Wang, a 17-year-old Milpitas High School senior who oversees all of the team projects.
While Wang has been a member of MXR for the last four years, Milpitas HS teacher Mimi Nguyen is in her first as the team advisor and she has been “very impressed by this group of dedicated students.”
“The students are 3D printing the frame of the face shields at home and sending them to Maker Nexus to be connected with the shields,” explained Milpitas High School teacher Mimi Nguyen. “I am so proud of them for taking the initiative and helping out their community.”
Maker Nexus picks up the face shield parts from the students, adds the face guard, and then delivers them to local hospitals for their essential workers.
“We are printing everyday,” said Wang, noting that the printers are running up to 12 hours per day to make the parts.
MXR is helping to combat COVID-19 in more ways than one.
According to Wang, the MXR team is currently ranked in the top 3% overall and top 3 among Robotics teams for donations of Central Process Unit (CPU) and Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) through Folding@Home, a program developed at MIT, to help model COVID-19 in an attempt to find a cure.
“We have started providing virtual classes for younger community members to learn about Computer-Aided Design as we all shelter in place, and have been playing around with online robotics simulators, looking to host a virtual robotics competition for our community,” Wang added.
Prior to the SIP order, the MXR team was preparing to compete in the VEX Robotics World Championship in Kentucky. They have participated in various competitions such as FIRST Tech Challenge, Combat Robotics, and Silicon Valley's Bike to the Future competition.
“The club's goal is to create a space where all students can come together to share their passion for engineering and robotics,” Nguyen said.