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With stories in the news about healthcare workers experiencing discomfort in their ears from having to wear masks for long periods of time, Pingry is making "ear savers"—hundreds of them—for hospitals, supermarkets, and other locations where masks are worn all day. An ear saver is a plastic device that attaches to the left and right elastic straps on face masks, thereby pulling the straps away from the individual's ears.
How is Pingry creating these ear savers while school is closed? Members of the Technology Department are using the School's 3D printers (taken home for use during remote learning), which work with computer files and spools of filament to create three-dimensional objects. Technology Specialist Steve Frantz and Technology Associate Eric Moore have been leading the process. Mr. Frantz explains: "I created the two-dimensional version in [Adobe] Illustrator and then moved it to [the online 3D modeling program] Tinkercad to create a 3D version that I could export and print on our Prusa 3D printer." His first design had five hooks, but after he wore one, "I realized that having an equal number of hooks on each side is a better design."
The Tech Department and Middle School STEM group have been assisting Doug Baldwin from the user group NJ Makers Consortium; Mr. Baldwin coordinates with the Facebook group Middlesex Mask Project that donates masks to support front line workers, law enforcement officers, and essential workers. So far, Pingry's efforts have included printing 50 for Morristown Medical Center and 350 to help fulfill a request for 500 ear savers for Elmhurst Hospital in Queens.
An indication of an ear saver's impact: One healthcare worker related that the ear saver has already reduced her migraines.
Contact: Greg Waxberg '96, Communications Writer, Editor of The Pingry Review