ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Local robotics students are using their knowledge of technology to help healthcare workers. Using 3D printers they build themselves, they’re making protective face shields.

The coronavirus pandemic isn’t stopping the gears from turning for one group of talented students. The ‘Be Greater Than Average‘ robotics team may be spending more time at home now, but when they saw medical workers in need of PPE, or personal protective equipment, they got to work.

“While we’re a championship robotics team, a big part of that, kind of secret sauce, is that these kids have been taught to be leaders in our community,” said Dr. Shelly Gruenig, CEO of Be Greater Than Average and the coach of the robotics team. “It’s no surprise to me that one of my students sent a message and said, ‘hey, I have an idea,’ and that’s usually how our projects get started.”

Gruenig says around 20 members of the team are using 3D printers they built themselves to make the protective face shields. They use the printers to make the head pieces.

“Part of it is 3D printed and the other part is just a typical transparency sheet that is three-hole-punched or it’s hole-punched in the right place,” said Gruenig. “It goes on and the medical people wear this to protect themselves.”

One of the students, Parker Willis, says the shields are cheap and easy to make. She has three of her 3D printers running non-stop to make the head pieces.

“There’s a lot of downtime where I can keep an eye on it, and go and do my own thing, you know, homework,” said Willis, who is a junior at Sandia Preparatory School.

The robotics students hope to make enough for the entire community and beyond the metro. However, they need donations to continue making it happen.

“We need people donating transparency sheets, and/or money to buy the filament, the materials to make these masks,” said Willis, also noting that if you’re unable to donate materials, they’re also in need of people to help with assembly and delivery.

Gruenig says she’s inspired by the young leaders, taking this extra time at home to give back to their community.

“This is a real example of how they are using their own skills, using things they have learned, teaming up together,” said Gruenig. “Not only are they championship robotics team, but they are championship young people.”

Gruenig says they’re also 3D printing ventilator parts for a local company putting together ventilators for area hospitals. If you are able to make a material or monetary donation, you can contact them through the R4Creating website or donate directly via Paypal.