Mumbai

Maker’s Asylum develops face shields for healthcare workers

For quick production: Made of acrylic, foam, OHP sheets and elastic bands, the face shield is reusable and weighs less than 25 gm.  

While citizens clapped and beat utensils to encourage healthcare workers on Sunday, two members of Maker’s Asylum decided to quarantine themselves at the community hackerspace in Andheri, to produce protective gear for healthcare professionals.

In the past two days, founder of Maker’s Asylum Vaibhav Chhabra and lab head Narender Sharma, have designed affordable face shields for frontline healthcare professionals, like doctors, nurses and people conducting COVID-19 tests, which can be produced rapidly on a mass scale across the country.

Made of acrylic, foam, OHP sheets and elastic bands, the face shield is reusable and weighs less than 25 gm. The transparent OHP sheets can be replaced quickly, has hinges to fit all head sizes and the face shield can be assembled in less than three minutes. “We provide extra sheets along with the shield to replace whenever required, and it has ventilation holes so it can be worn all day,” said Richa Shrivastava Chhabra, managing partner, Maker’s Asylum.

Worn over a mask, face shields can be used to protect healthcare and sanitary workers from splashes, sprays and splatter of body fluids like mucous and saliva on the facial area, further reducing the chances of contracting coronavirus. The makerspace aims to produce and distribute over 10,000 face shields to government hospitals and doctors for free, for which they are raising funds online, in order to procure raw materials. “The requirement for these protective gears will soon reach more than a lakh and besides these 10,000 masks, we have orders from private individuals and hospitals too,” said Ms. Shrivastava Chhabra. The face shield is estimated to cost Rs. 100 each.

With a 21-day lockdown in India, the biggest challenge is to transport these face shields to several parts of the country. “So the idea was to come up with a standard product and not produce them centrally but everywhere, and not deal with the logistics of distribution,” said Ms. Shrivastava Chhabra. They plan to collaborate with labs and over 500 hackerspaces across India to produce these face shields and distribute them regionally.

Initially, Mr. Chhabra and Mr. Sharma, developed the shields using 3D printers, which took longer to manufacture. So they decided to use laser cutters or digital fabrication to quicken the process. The makerspace can now cut the acrylic headgear in less than a minute and make up to 500 a day. “In India, we need to make COVID-19 testing more aggressive, and for that, we will need adequate protection,” said Ms. Shrivastava Chhabra.

Labs and makerspaces who have laser cutting machines and want to help manufacture and distribute the face shields locally, as well as those interested in buying the face shields from Maker’s Asylum, can contact them at info@makersasylum.com or call on 9004686828.

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Printable version | Apr 13, 2021 4:29:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/makers-asylum-develops-face-shields-for-healthcare-workers/article31188133.ece

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