The Three Masketeers Create Masks Using Skills Learned from SeaPerch
“When we hear a mask recipient say ‘God bless you’ with tears in their eyes or write us a sweet card of thanks or extend a donation with trembling hands, it humbles us and inspires us at the same time.”
Two Alvin ISD students partnered with a longtime friend from Pearland ISD and together created 3D printed masks for members of the community. Students Karthik Bhagavatula of Shadow Creek High School, Praneel Bhagavatula of Nolan Ryan Junior High School and Amar Sehgal of Dawson High School utilized skills learned within the classroom to design, and create a mask equivalent in protective capacity to an N-95.
After hearing Amar’s mother, who is a practicing pediatrician, mention the nation's shortage of PPE “The Three Masketeers” decided to step up and try to fill the void. The team performed extensive research on the kinds of masks and filters used to protect individuals and designed a unique 3D-printed base mask with disposable filters that can be switched out periodically. They even worked with hospitals in the Texas Medical Center to test the masks for fit and efficiency while using the feedback they received to improve and refine the design of the mask.
Many of the skills the students used to design the masks came from their backgrounds in Seaperch, Alvin ISD’s Underwater Robotics Program. The students are also members of the Technology Student Association and FIRST Robotics. The STEM clubs are where they learned the ins and outs of the novel 3D-printing technique. They observed how the printer worked and formed plans from there to make and modify designs. They also gained in-depth experience in the engineering design process (EDP) which they were able to apply during the design portion of the project. In the event of any problems of complications, the EDP was utilized to find the quickest and best solution which they could implement immediately.
Due to lack of certification, the masks were not eligible for use in healthcare settings. However, the team realized there are many people in the community who will need masks to stay protected for months to come. With help from local and regional officials, among others, the students were able to reach out to hundreds of people and distribute the masks for free to those who were in need of more than a cloth covering or face shield to stay protected. This population largely consisted of high-risk groups, including but not limited to elderly patients in nursing homes, immunocompromised people, first responders, COPD, cancer patients, and diabetics.
“Even though we are from neighboring school districts, we have been able to come together due to our shared passion for science, and build something that our entire community and all our peers can benefit from,” the students shared. “We have learned so much along the way; for example, how to build a user-friendly website, an in-depth analysis of medical conditions and risk in relation to this dangerous virus, how to rise above the challenges of limited resources and time, and much more.”
The students would like to extend a special thank you to Alvin ISD teachers and coaches for dedicating their time and efforts towards these clubs. For more information or to contact The Three Masketeers head over to their website at https://threemasketeers202.
All for one and one for all! - The Three Masketeers motto.