KC FIRST robotics teams step up to help medical community

The FIRST robotics community is known for its core values—including innovation and impact (applying what’s learned to improve the world). And although the season may be suspended, local teams are still innovating to find ways to help the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teen boy wearing face shield and showing two thumbs upSajon Seaberg is a senior at Blue Valley West High School and a member of FIRST Tech Challenge team 3409, the Astromechs. Building on a relationship with Dr. Zachary Collins of University of Kansas Medical Center, Sajon and his team connected with Kansas City’s maker community to 3D print parts needed for face shields the hospital can use to shore up supplies of personal protective equipment.

Sajon says he got to know Dr. Collins while his dad was in treatment for Acute Myeloid Leukemia. When his family heard about online plans for 3D parts that could help make face shields, Sajon created some prototypes for KU Med Center to approve. From there, the team put out the call for help and set a goal of sourcing 800 parts.

Just a few days after putting out the call, Sajon has heard from more than 50 people and a variety of companies ready to help. The first delivery to KU Med Center is set for March 30.

Local hospitals already received more than 500 safety glasses from FIRST teams across the metro from a drive coordinated by Lee’s Summit R-7 and local hospitals and facilitated by KC STEM Alliance’s Robert Dumler. Thanks to all who have pitched in!

Do you have stories about local youth putting their real-world problem solving skills to work right now? Please share with us so we can celebrate their efforts.