You can't go a week or a day without hearing inspiring news on how companies are turning on a dime and pushing manufacturing to the limits to turn out products, redesign in a flash, and help battle COVID-19. Our friends at Xometry have a great example of how X.Labs turned to them not only for its speed, but because Xometry could deliver on every feature and material requirement. And, as X.Labs' Jasun Tate notes, it was simply unprecendented how Xometry took a development in the mind and manifested a solution. Read on to see how this product development unfolded.
When COVID-19 began to spread in December 2019, CEO and founder of X.Labs Barry Oberholzer realized that a former defense project that harnessed AI-based heat detection technology would pivot easily into a tool used to fight the spread of the coronavirus. The heat detection technology could be used to identify people in a crowd with elevated body temperatures of 37°C, signaling a fever, which is one symptom of the highly contagious coronavirus. By rapidly identifying those with symptoms, discreetly notifying medical authorities, and testing them for the virus, public health officials can curb the rates of COVID-19 infection.
Oberholzer worked with a team of engineers and deployment specialists including Jasun Tate, the current CSO and chief information security officer of X.Labs, to launch Feevr, a contactless heat detection device that can be installed in public spaces to scan forehead temperatures of passing foot traffic. With governments reporting exponential growth in the number of COVID-19 cases each passing day, the team worked to rapidly design and prototype their threat detection device. “We are in the business of saving lives and preventing catastrophes,” Tate says. “That’s what we do and we have to do it fast.”
X.Labs turned to Xometry not only for its speed, but because Xometry could deliver on every feature and material requirement with its vast range of manufacturing and customization options.
Rapid product development
Because of Xometry’s vast range of capabilities and fast lead times, X.Labs turned to Xometry to manufacture various housings and mounts for Feevr. Their manufacturing criteria were based on three major factors: the device would have to be sterilizable, durable against a variety of environmental conditions, and custom-designed for governmental healthcare and public safety organizations.
Xometry employed 3D printing technologies – specifically, selective laser sintering (SLS) with Nylon 12, and HP Multi Jet Fusion with TPU 95A – as well as injection molding and compression molding to meet the design requirements of various end-use environments. For example, the air is often dry in Middle Eastern countries and more humid in Southeast Asian countries, which means Feevr devices in more humid conditions must be molded to eliminate microbial adhesion potential. Tate says the designs of the Feevr device, which are currently available for pre-order, are bespoke.
“Each device is ordered en masse and made to the client’s specifications. The only company that can offer this level of uniqueness is Xometry. That’s why [the company] is a perfect match for us,” Tate says.
In close collaboration with the Xometry application engineering team, the X.Labs team finalized their designs and had their parts in hand within days.
Tate was astounded by the speed of product development, spurred by the close unity of prototype specialists at X.Labs with manufacturing experts at Xometry.
“It’s beautiful to see how fast Xometry can get things done. Technology has allowed us to get solutions on the ground to impacted areas with minimal problems. We’re two companies with passions for saving the world during an emergency situation,” Tate says.
Xometry, a quickturn supplier during critical situations
Xometry and X.Labs worked together to produce a robust medical device to combat COVID-19 in just one month’s time. The housing and mounts, which are integral to providing flexibility and durability for the device, were manufactured with medical-grade materials with meticulous manufacturing design feedback from Xometry staff.
Since Xometry has a network of more than 4,000 global manufacturing partners, many of which are currently classified as essential businesses during government-mandated lockdowns, X.Labs was able to source their prototype and end-use components during a pivotal moment in time – before any vaccine was developed and before COVID19’s peak infection rate in many countries. The Feevr device can be used to curb the initial outbreak of COVID19, as well as in months to come as individuals begin to venture back into public spaces. Feevr will be a tool to combat recurring waves of COVID-19 infection as well as any future health crises. The company will continue to work with Xometry on future iterations of Feevr and well as on other life-saving technologies.
Tate describes Xometry as an adaptive, innovative, and timely manufacturing service that can change the world. “The ability of Xometry to take what was developed in the mind and manifest a solution in the real world was exemplary. Simply unprecedented.”