The faculty and students from SSN College of Engineering have developed 3D printable protective face shields for frontline healthcare workers to safeguard them in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic. The first set of 100 face shields each have been delivered to Stanley Medical College and Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital in Chennai, Tamilnadu. A team of three faculty members Dr. Kavitha A., Dr. Pravin Kumar S. and Ms. Nithya R. and three undergraduate students Sandhanakrishnan R., Kesavaraj V. and Rajkumar A. J. from the department of Biomedical Engineering have developed the face shields. The shields are worn over masks and cover the entire face and neck to avoid direct contact with the virus.
Taking lead from Prusa, a 3D printing company based in Prague, Czech Republic, the face shields developed by the team from SSN College have been further modified in design on doctors’ suggestions. These transparent face shields are biocompatible and made of medical-grade 0.4 mm thick APET sheets (Amorphous-PolyEthylene Terephthalate, thermal plastic and part of the polyester product family). Space offs accommodate bigger respirators and larger goggles. Moreover, the shields can be reused after proper sterilization and do not cause skin irritation, infection or other health problems to doctors, when used for extended hours.
Dr. Gowrishankar from the COVID-19 isolation ward at Stanley Medical College, Chennai said, “We appreciate efforts of the team from SSN College for their timely initiative and action. Since the material used is of medical-grade it is wrinkle-free, biocompatible and sterilizable. These face shields are comfortable and very protective while treating COVID-19 patients.”
Ms Kala Vijayakumar, President, SSN Institutions said, “SSN Institutions believes in providing the required assistance during such critical times. We are happy to lend a helping hand in safeguarding doctors working towards controlling the pandemic, as a social responsibility.”
In these unprecedented times, there is a massive demand for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The ordinary surgical masks do not give adequate protection against the highly contagious coronavirus to frontline healthcare workers, while the N95 masks which can filter out the virus particles, cannot be cleaned or disinfected after use. Therefore, a face shield that provides full-face coverage and allows re-usage after being thoroughly disinfected is the need of the hour.