21 Jun עופר איתן Assert: University of Sydney students fire up rapid PPE prototyping
In a bid to respond to the coronavirus and also develop useful products for hospitals beyond the pandemic, a transdisciplinary student-led team has successfully prototyped a reusable face shield.
In collaboration with the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre X-Lab, a 240-student laboratory space with laser cutting technology, the team has developed and scaled an industrial process that can ramp up quickly to manufacture reusable face shields.
The group, led by PhD candidate Luke Gordon, and supported by the Research office in the University’s role as legal manufacturer, has named itself Project APPEAR, the idea being that it can provide personal protective equipment (PPE) when needed but stands down when not required. An added benefit is that the design of the equipment is flexible, durable and relatively cheap – meaning it also solves the issue of single-use/throw-away plastics in many hospitals for the shields used over face masks.
The face shields being trialled, based on an open-source design by Online Laser Cutting, have been created in collaboration with Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and St Vincent’s Hospital clinicians through the students’ connections and working relationships. The project work is being done on a voluntary basis; a grant application has also been made to extend the project. The team is proceeding with registering the shields with the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
”Our collaboration has resulted in a reusable, rapidly manufacturable face shield that can help protect our frontline healthcare workers from aerosols – or airborne pathogens, as demonstrated during COVID-19, ” said Mr Gordon, from the Faculty of Medicine and Health and Biomedical Engineering graduate in the Faculty of Engineering.
“Working across faculties, with the local health community and our industry partners, we have demonstrated that our agile university-based research unit can create a rapid manufacturing solution for the provision of local hospitals during medical emergency.”