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Amazon's drone team is making face shields for frontline workers

The company also releases its face shield design for anyone to use.

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Medical workers test Amazon face shields.
Amazon
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Engineers from Amazon's Prime Air mechanical design and hardware teams are working together to make coronavirus face shields that'll soon be for sale on the e-commerce giant's website. 

Amazon began face shield efforts in early March and has since donated almost 10,000 shields to frontline workers, the company said Thursday. It now plans to start mass producing face shields and selling them at cost on Amazon.com

See more: Face coverings, N95 masks and surgical masks: Who they're for and how to use them

"To help quickly meet the growing requests from medical professionals across the country, we have decided to start mass-producing these face shields and aim to make hundreds of thousands available over the next few weeks," said Brad Porter, engineer and vice president of Amazon Robotics, in a blog post.

The Amazon team adapted the design from an earlier model created by a nonprofit 3D-printing group in Washington state. The Prime Air engineers worked with the 3D-printing group to make the shields reusable and more comfortable for health care workers. The face shield design has since been approved by the National Institutes of Health, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. 

The company will initially limit face shield sales to frontline workers, but Amazon plans to open sales to the public in the future. Amazon is also releasing an open-source design so anyone can make their own face shield by 3D-printing or injection molds.  

Last month Amazon began mandating temperature checks and face masks for employees, but the company continues to face criticism over conditions for warehouse workers as dozens of locations report positive coronavirus cases. Amazon has also faced logistics hurdles causing delivery delays, as well as issues with price gouging amid the outbreak.