Alumna Co-designs Open-source, 3-D-printed Face Shield

Share story

If you are looking for ways to help improve your community’s response to COVID-19 and have access to a 3-D printer, consider producing this face shield, developed by engineering alumna Elizabeth Johansen ’01 in collaboration with Design that Matters. It is the first 3-D-printed face shield to be recommended by the National Institutes of Health and is now in production across the country and abroad.

Johansen is Founder of Spark Health Design, a consultancy focused on Human Centered Design for positive health outcomes. She specializes in medical devices, diagnostics, and digital health tools, made more accessible for people living in low resource settings. She formerly worked at Design that Matters, which launched a newborn phototherapy device called Firefly in 2014. A lot of the lessons learned in working with healthcare workers in Vietnam and Haiti on Firefly have gone into the development of this improved face shield for healthcare providers, many of whom work in low-resource settings.

Elizabeth Johansen in face shield

Elizabeth Johansen ’01 wearing the DtM-v3 face shield

The DtM shield is designed with coverage at the top of the mask, since aerosols (from a cough or sneeze, for instance) go up then come down. The design provides a flexible headband to cover the forehead while still allowing proper ventilation. The face shield can be wiped down according to CDC protocols and can be reused so that healthcare providers can continue to protect themselves while providing necessary care. This design is backed by background research that Spark Health Design completed and is based on experience designing many other medical devices.

Join this open-source and voluntary effort

Around the U.S., creating face shields is considered an essential service. Find tools here to help you make the case to access resources in order to fabricate. Spread the word to those you know with 3-D printers and share information about this design and ways to help. “The idea is that hopefully people step forward in many different regional areas to lead the efforts on local production and distribution to places that want them,” Johansen says.

Download the face shield design files

Information on how to prepare a makerspace to produce shields that are safe to donate.

Find out who’s in need

To find local healthcare workers or other essential workers in need of face shields, visit the website, which allows people around the U.S. to share what needs they have.

Working at scale

Design that Matters and Spark Health Design have created a working group has been created to work with manufacturers who want to scale the design. Contact Johansen to be added to the email group, and access the turnkey face shield package for volume manufacturers online here.

For information about face shield production on the HMC campus, [email]contact Liz Orwin ‘95[/email]. []

FDA has given Emergency Use Authorization for production of Face Shields.

[hmc-video video_id=”T7uWoqoke0M” title=”Elizabeth Johansen on 3D-printed Face Shield Design”]


In response to the COVID-19 global health pandemic and federal and state emergency efforts, an NIH-approved design is being made publicly available and can be downloaded to 3D print face shields.

By downloading the design, you understand and hereby agree that:

This design, and any items arising out of or derived from the design, are NOT meant to replace approved medical equipment and devices, and have NOT been cleared, approved, or authorized for use by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) as medical devices that comply with performance standards, including American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) standards, for protection against hazards, including blood-borne or respiratory pathogens and other infectious materials.

Providing this design and/or use of the design or any items arising out of or derived from the design does not convey and shall not be construed to convey any right, title or interest, including but not limited to intellectual property rights, subsisting in the design plan or any items arising out of or derived from the design.

The design is provided as is. No representations or warranties are made regarding the quality, nature, condition, or composition of the design, or any items arising out of or derived from the design.

All warranties and representations, whether express, implied, or statutory, are disclaimed, including without limitation any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose regarding the design or any items arising out of or derived from such design.

No party providing any of the design shall be liable under any circumstances for damages of any kind, whether direct, indirect, special, incidental, consequential, or punitive, arising from any use of the design or items arising out of or derived from the design.

Use of the design and/or any items arising out of or derived from the plan is solely at your own risk.