Business News Science Society, 20/04/2020

Kharkiv Volunteers Produce Face Shields to Protect Doctors from Coronavirus

In response to the coronavirus threat, creative people from various countries including Ukraine are offering their ideas on how to protect the doctors who treat the COVID-19 infected patients. One of the popular thoughts is to make protective face shields on a 3D printer.

According to Yehor Ishtvan, a volunteer, maker and medical physicist, the face shields are used as primary protection of the healthcare workers, covering the doctors’ faces from large drops that might get into the eyes or on the face mask. Safety shields provide the minimum required protection from coronavirus for medical staff. But it turned out, there were very few of them in Kharkiv and regional hospitals. Professional shields are rather expensive, and they were available only in one hospital and not all staff were provided with them.

“As one of the most successful protective face shields models, Kharkiv makers have selected the one of Swedish design. It has already been tested and got positive feedback from two hospitals. It is not professional but protects against infection.

“Initially, one person in Kharkiv, who has several 3D printers, offered to produce such shields, later two more people were involved in the project,” Yehor notes.

Sloboda Studio Ukraine and AdvanceIT companies purchased the shields.

“A 3D printer, hole punch and film, which can be bought in hardware or stationery stores, are required to produce the shields. The film is attached to the shell in the form of a hoop. It takes 20 minutes to produce one item on one printer. But they can be manufactured on multiple printers simultaneously. The cost of one shield is about 15 UAH (approximately $0,5). Kharkiv IT cluster found sponsors for production of the first batch of the shields,” tells Yehor Ishtvan.

About 450 items have already been sent to eight Kharkiv hospitals. The second batch, amounted to 250 shields, was delivered to seven regional hospitals by Olha Shapoval, executive director of Kharkiv IT Cluster. The makers are going to produce about 2,000 shields in two weeks.

“Now, we are looking for people who can print the items on their own equipment or borrow the printer for a while if it is not being used,” says Yehor. “Doctors need to be protected. And these models are convenient, easy to disinfect, we expect that they will last for about one and a half months.”

At the same time, the Kharkiv makers decided to improve the shields, so that doctors will feel comfortable during several hours of continuous wear.

“Another community is testing a more convenient model on 3D printers. We would like the doctors, who have worked with the patients in the intensive care unit for six hours, have more comfortable shields,” Yehor Ishtvan adds.

The manufacturing has been run as part of the IT4Life project in collaboration with 3D studio StuffHouse3d and Yehor Ishtvan coordinated by Kharkiv IT Cluster.

Text: Natalia Ivanova