‘Badger Shield’ approved to protect medical staff from COVID-19

Badger Shield

MADISON, Wis. — A group of innovators in Dane County have developed a face shield that will now be used to protect medical staff as they treat patients with COVID-19. The mask is approved for use and is now being massed produced, making it one of the first shields to be developed as a result of the pandemic that is being widely embraced.

A few weeks ago officials at UW Hospitals officials frantically contacted Lennon Rodger, the director of the Engineering Design Innovation Lab at UW to make protective masks after UW Hospital’s normal supplier had ran out. Lennon consulted Jesse Darley, a mechanical engineer at Madison design firm Delve and Brian Ellison, development manager at Midwest prototyping in Blue Mounds, and thus the Badger Shield was born.

“The need is immense. We are thinking that there may be shortages of over a million face shields a day,” Darley said.

UW hospital quickly approved the device and it is now being worn by staff there. It will protect them from flying respiratory droplets that can transmit coronavirus through a cough or a sneeze.

“The speed was incredible. We basically went from identifying the need and trying to get a team together to delivering face shields to the UW hospital in about four to five days,” Darley said.

The mask is made out of lightweight and easy to come by materials.

“UW Hospital is expecting surges to come next week or a little later. So they want to be a little ahead of the problem. That’s why we focused on as simple a design as possible so we could get it out there quickly,” Darley said.

The creators have uploaded the design online so others can copy it. The Ford Motor Company, which halted vehicle production, is manufacturing the masks.

Darley said that he is excited by the fact that the Badger Shield is helping create work for many during the economic slow down.