As the number of the Coronavirus cases increases on the daily, lots of healthcare workers around the world are facing shortage in medical gears and apparels with which they can protect themselves from contracting the deadly disease. But then comes innovations from different people ranging from designers to institutions, brands and architects all making the most needed equipment, a face shield.
This devices are simple and transparent allowing an healthcare worker work with ease while having their entire face covered and protected from accidental droplets entering into their nose, eyes or mouth. These devices are used with other apparels such as masks or respirators which allows them breath much better while suiting up during the handling of samples or even patients who have the disease.
“Face shields are generally not used alone, but in conjunction with other protective equipment and are therefore classified as adjunctive personal protective equipment,” states a 2016 review of face shields by the US National Center for Biotechnology.
Making of the face shields according to an NCBI review guidelines for both usage and manufacturing varies significantly. “Although there are millions of potential users of face shields, guidelines for their use vary between governmental agencies and professional societies and little research is available regarding their efficacy,” it said.
But Mike Edmond, a healthcare epidemiologist and physician based in Iowa City, believes that face shields “offer a better solution” than masks.
“The advantages of face shields are their durability allowing them to be worn an indefinite number of times, the ability to easily clean them after use, their comfort, and they prevent the wearer from touching their face,” Edmond wrote on his blog.
“We have a product that is reusable, cleanable, covers more of your face, decreases the risk of autoinoculation, and keeps us from burning through our mask supply,” he wrote in another post.
“Importantly, they cover all the portals of entry for this virus: the eyes, the nose, and the mouth. Moreover, the supply chain is significantly more diversified than that of face masks, so availability is much greater.”
MAKING OF THE FACE SHIELD IS SIMPLE
The face shields are one of the easiest personal protective equipment or PPE to make as they only consists of two parts which includes a visor which covers the face and those are usually from plastic such as polycarbonate, propionate, acetate, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and Polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) and behind the visor is a strap to holding it firm to the head.
The strap can be made of moulded plastic, 3D-printed plastic or even elastic. Some are designed to be thrown away after a single use while others can be sterilised and reused.
“Because the design of face shields is simple, massive production should not be difficult,” wrote Edmond. “Individuals and groups are making them via 3D printing, and they can even be made from materials that are readily available from stores that sell office or craft supplies.”
So in case you want to make one for your community healthcare workers, you should seek to know about their design specifications in order to provide with a much suitable equipment that can protect them better.
Architects, brands and institutions making shields
Brands including Nike and Apple, architects including Foster + Partners and BIG and educational institutions including Cambridge University and MIT have all developed or adapted designs for face shields recently, utilising 3D printing, laser cutting and even origami. In addition, many open-source designs are available for people to download and customise.
Here are eight examples:
Reusable face shield by Foster + Partners
Foster + Partners is an architecture studio and the company has designed a face shield that can be manufactured faster and easily disassembled, sanitized and reused right after being used.
The device is made with a laser cutter and the design studio was able to make about 1,000 of the shields in just one day using one single machine which showed the ease of making the equipment.
“Protecting front-line health workers is key and we felt this was an obvious way that we could contribute,” Grant Brooker, head of studio at Foster + Partners, told Dezeen.
Origami face shield by University of Cambridge and the University of Queensland
This shield is designed by a team of researchers at the University of Cambridge’s Center for Natural Material Innovation and the University of Queensland’s Folded Structures Lab where they assembled the device by folding a piece of plastic using curved-crease origami.
The Face shield is made using really simple and fabricated materials without the need for any specialist machinery to achieve the design and development of the device and it’s said to be easy and can be made by anyone around the world.
“It’s not expensive to make at all,” said Michael Ramage, head of the Centre for Natural Material Innovation at the University of Cambridge. “It’s viable anywhere in the world, whatever your resources.”
One-piece face shield by MIT
This device was made by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a disposable face shield which is made out of very simple piece of plastic. The shield can be rapidly produced anywhere and deployed all around the world.
“These face shields have to be made rapidly and at low cost because they need to be disposable,” said Martin Culpepper, professor of mechanical engineering and project leader.
“Our technique combines low-cost materials with high-rate manufacturing that has the potential of meeting the need for face shields nationwide.”
Face shields from footwear by Nike
Nike also did made one using materials found in its shoes and clothing with which they created a face shield that is now being distributed to hospitals in Oregon, US.
Materials used in making the face shield includes polyurethane film which is used for making airbag in the sole of it’s Air Shoes and for the padding that is found on it’s collars. The shield can be tightened with a cord typically used on Nike’s items of clothing.
Open-source face shield by Erik Cederberg
This face shield was made by a Swedish 3D-Printing company called 3DVerkstan which is an open-source design that architecture studios across Amercica have been using.
Studios including Handel Architects, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) are manufacturing the face shields and distributing them to hospitals in America.
Flat-pack face shield by Apple
Apple is among the top tech firms to create a fully adjustable face shield and has begun the manufacturing of the device both in the US and China. The company is planning on shipping about one million of such face shields to hospitals in the US every week.
“We’ve launched a company-wide effort, bringing together product designers, engineering, operations, and packaging teams, and our suppliers, to design, produce, and ship face shields for health workers,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook.
3D-printed face shield by Nagami Design
Nagami Design, a Spanish 3D-Printing brand is using it’s facilities which has been used to print furniture for companies like Zaha Hadid Design wants to use the chance to make face shields for medical staffs.
The face shields are being donated to Hospital Provincial de Ávila, near Nagami Design’s factory in Spain.
Simple face shield by Jungil Hong and Matt Muller
Jungil Hong and Matt Muller who are both graduates from the Rhode Island school of Design are making a simple face shield that is made from curve piece of vinyl and head straps
“We can sustain our business and provide a product that’s a quarter the price of what’s out there because our design is so much simpler,” said Muller. “We have the capacity to make between 1,500 and 3,000 shields per day once we get going.”
As of now, the number of Coronavirus cases worldwide is over 2 million with the US having more than 600,000 reported cases alone. While there is shortage of equipment, it’s a great idea as individuals and enterprises have stepped in to help these healthcare workers who are on the front line battling the disease.