KU student cranks out hundreds of ear-relief devices for medical workers

Rebecca Crockett
May 07, 2020 - 12:54 pm
An adjustable plastic device made on a 3D printer provides relief for wearers of facemasks.

Kansas City, MO - A University of Kansas engineering student is still cranking out hundreds of little plastic bands that provide a bit of comfort for those on the frontlines of the coronavirus fight. 

“So, I wake up at 6am, start the printers and I've been going to bed at 'oneish' and starting the last print around then," says Gregory Bortnick.

Early on in the pandemic, while at home in Leawood, the 21-year-old college student recognized the 3D printer he would use for fun projects could be used for a different purpose. 

Bortnick began making a plastic gadget that allow facemasks to be adjustable and relieve pressure on the ears from tight straps. 

“I saw some ideas for the item online and downloaded a file for a design and made modifications," Bortnick told the magazine In Kansas City.

He's made more than 2,000 so far.

"After distributing the first 200 units, I got feedback from nurses and made modifications to make the product both longer and thinner and have ramped up production since.  The first thousand were donated locally to KU, TMC, Research and Advent Health hospitals," said Bortnick.


Bortnick has named these plastic gadgets, Ear Ease.  And says he's been working on making 1,200 to send to New York.  He's sent about 500 so far.  

“It’s rewarding to know that I’m able to help people with my product," said Bortnick. "I’d just like to keep doing that and make sure everyone is comfortable no matter what they're doing.”



Comments ()