HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – A University of Southern Mississippi (USM) professor created personal protective equipment (PPE) for hospitals during a shortage in the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Anna Wan is an assistant professor at USM. She joined forces with students to create PPE and medical equipment for Forrest General Hospital.

“We were able to accomplish over 1,600 masks within a week or two for Forrest General. We 3D printed the mold, and then thermoformed over that 3D printed mold, so that we could boost up production,” she explained.

Wan and her students made 3D printed masks using lumber, gym bags and windshield wiper motors.

“It takes like five or six hours to 3D print one mask, so what we ended up doing was taking around eight hours or so to 3D print the mold, and then we thermoformed it. And basically, you heat up a piece of plastic and put it over the form and then vacuum it,” she said.

In addition to leading the Mathematics Department at USM, Wan is also the founder of the Southern Miss Public Makerspace-Eagle Maker Hub, which is where the medical equipment and masks were made. It’s also the first public makerspace for a Mississippi university.

Each mask made at USM costs about $2.00 to make in materials.