Repurposing commonly found materials
Currently, there is a global shortage of protective face visors available to essential front-line medical staff due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff working in Intensive Care Medicine (ICM) and providing Aerosol Generated Procedure (AGP) treatment for the most critical COVID-19 patients on ventilators are required to wear clear face visors along with other protective equipment. Due to safety protocols, every time ICM staff re-enter the unit, they must re-kit themselves with a new face visor and discard the old, which then must be incinerated.
Around the world, the stock of medical face visors cannot be replenished quickly enough to meet the present demands. Many current solutions focus on creating a large, 3D printed, single-use adjustable headband. This method is both time-consuming and expensive.
The solution utilizes an existing, well-proven, fully adjustable and comfortable headband (over prolonged periods of wear) which is in plentiful supply across the globe – a baseball cap.
Rather than completely redesigning conventional face shields, the baseball cap face visor was founded on the idea of repurposing commonly found materials. By fastening a die-cut, clear face visor to a baseball cap using a few injection moulded fasteners, a medical-grade face visor can easily be manufactured for under £4.00 ($5.00). All components, other than the die-cut visor, can also be sterilised for reuse. The injection moulded fastener would be push-fitted onto the baseball cap, with one version of the visor attaching to a piece of knotted elastic which slots into the existing holes in the visor and wraps around the rear of the head, similar to a pair of swimming goggles. The die-cut face visor would then lock onto the fastener, ensuring full, protective coverage across the face, and the peak of the cap would then create space underneath for a FFP3 face mask.
The baseball cap face visor is ultimately intended to help fill in gaps in the supply chain of face visors around the world rather than to completely replace it. But, because of the low-cost and its ease of manufacturing, a huge number could be made in a very short time, even just by 3D printing hobbyists, henceforth helping us reach the goal of slowing down the further spread of COVID-19.
The baseball cap face visor is currently in the testing and prototyping phase.
Two main designs have been pursued:
- Version A uses a 3-clip system (two clips securing the rear of the visors and one clip fastening the visor to the peak).
- Version B utilizes two side clips and a knotted elastic strap to secure the visor around the head.
Although still in its developmental phase, if the need arises, the face visor can be readily mass-produced with current designs.
The main challenge facing the project has been the lack so far of feedback from the general public, especially healthcare professionals, regarding the effectiveness and ease of usage of the face visor.
To move on in the design and manufacturing process, the collection of more opinions on the baseball cap face visor is critical. Additionally, legal advice is needed for the project to ensure that it complies with current healthcare regulations.
Uses a 3-clip system (two clips securing the rear of the visors and one clip fastening the visor to the peak).
Utilizes either side clips or a knotted elastic strap to secure the visor around the head.