La Tech freshman creates ear guards for medical workers

La Tech student helping healthcare workers

RUSTON, La. (KSLA) -A Louisiana Tech student is using her 3D printing skills to help medical professionals during the coronavirus pandemic.

For the last three weeks, Avereigh Barras has been creating ear guards for medical staff wearing masks.

“The mask that go around the ear...to relieve that pressure from behind the ear, the extender just goes right on the back of the head and you wrap the mask around the extender," she said.

Barras is a freshman studying mechanical engineering and was able to take home a few of the university’s 3D printers for this project.

So far she’s made over 1,000 ear guards and has six printers going at her house that can each make 5 guards at a time.

“I taught my mom how to switch the printers so she can take the ear guards that are made off and tell it to print more,” she said. “So while I’m in class, she’s going and switching all the printers.”

The idea to do this actually came from Facebook, after her family saw a post where a Canadian boy scout was discussing and sharing the files to print the ear guards.

“My mom was like hey you have some 3D printers, maybe these might help some people,” she said. “Then my boss at LA Tech...also messaged me that same day with the Facebook post and was like hey this seems pretty cool.”

Right now she is currently working on making around 1,000 more ear guards that will be distributed to two different hospital systems in Louisiana.

“At first it was going to friends who were nurses and their units and co-workers and then it branched out to Ochsner Monroe and LSU Shreveport and bigger hospitals," she said. "I’ve sent (the masks) to... a lot of places in Louisiana.”

Barras has created a GoFund Me to help fund her project. So far she’s raised over $3,500 with plans to donate the excess funds to a food bank to help families during the pandemic.

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