St. Mark's alumnus Sean Bellefeuille '15 is a talented entrepreneur. He is the co-founder and chief executive officer of M3Dimensions, an innovative 3D-modeling company supporting veterinary surgeons. But the current concerns of these challenging times inspired a shift. Bellefeuille and M3Dimensions will now be creating lightweight, protective face shields for health care workers.
M3 Dimensions is a startup medical device company, launched by a tight-knit group of seven former and current Rochester Institute of Technology students, during Bellefeuille's time as an undergraduate at RIT studying biomedical engineering. After a year of planning and preparing their business model, the seven entrepreneurs formally established M3Dimensions in the summer of 2019.
The initial focus of M3Dimensions was veterinary medicine. Bellefeuille himself will be attending Cornell University's School of Veterinary Medicine this coming fall. "We have been creating anatomical models and preoperative planning tools," says Bellefeuille. The company has been working to provide veterinarians a precise 3D model of a knee ailment or bone abnormality before surgery, providing veterinary schools with anatomical models so students could see, touch and feel what they would find in surgery.
"With the onset of Covid-19," said Bellefeuille, "our team decided to shift our focus and see how we could try to help the local community. We saw a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) as an opportunity to use our skills to design a device that could help healthcare professionals. Face shields are used as an additional barrier between healthcare providers and their patients to protect them from contamination. Our team rapidly designed and created prototypes under the guidance of a group of physicians on Long Island, New York." The group is currently obtaining medical validation from local hospitals. ."We're trying to work with their protocols so there's an airtight seal," said Bellefeuille. "We have to make sure everything fits their needs."
The company's goal is to supply health care workers with an extra layer of protection, using 3D printing to create the top band that holds the shield. The shield uses a closed-cell foam cushion and polyethylene terephthalate plastic, which does not absorb moisture or harbor bacteria.
"We are now preparing for both small-scale-- 3D printing-- and large-scale manufacturing-- injection molding-- to get our product out to hospitals and practices across the country," Bellefeuille told St. Mark's. Based on printer inventory, he estimates M3Dimensions can produce as many as 60 shields a day.
"With everything going on," said Bellefeuille, "a lot of people are trying to help."
Sean Bellefeuille '15, Kirk Swenson, Kevin Oklobzija – Rochester Business Journal