WHO: Gabriel Guo, 17

WHAT: Helped 3-D print 8,650 face shields for essential workers

High school student Gabriel Guo and his friends had planned to work on a project for team robotics competitions this past spring. But when the new coronavirus started spreading, the competitions were canceled. 

So the Camas, Washington, teen and the other members of FIRST Robotics Team 2471 decided to use their engineering skills for a different purpose. They started making clear plastic face and eye shields for essential workers. The shields help protect against airborne droplets of the virus. 

The team members used 3-D printers, which build up layers of material, such as plastic or metal, to create solid objects. The teens first created two types of face shields. “One we called the Mandalorian, and another one we called the Stormtrooper, since they both look like something out of Star Wars,” Gabriel says. The students later added a third version, called the Vizsla. 

The teens raised money for materials through crowdfunding, grants, and corporate donations. 

By mid-July, they had delivered 8,650 face shields and 14,000 eye shields to 97 different facilities, including hospitals, medical care centers, and grocery stores. 

The competitions’ cancellation, Gabriel says, ended up having a silver lining. “We now have all these great skills we’re using to make a difference in this time, which is really rewarding.”