COVID-19: OOU don fabricates face shield with 3D printer

As part of efforts aimed at assisting the federal government fight the rampaging coronavirus in the country, a lecturer at the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), in Ogun state, Dr Royhaan Folarin, has fabricated a protective face shield using a three-dimension (3D) printer and locally-available materials.

It was gathered that the face shield which can be disinfected and reused over time, consists of a visor, a 3D-printed head frame and a posterior band.

Folarin specialises in neuroscience, neurophytotheraphy research, drosophila genetics, neuroanatomy, open labware, and 3D printing as a research-scientist.

According to him, the face shield will help to bolster the ongoing war against COVID-19, in a bid to flatten the curve through prevention and personal protection against infection by the virus, especially around the facial region.

“It should be noted that most face masks are not re-useable after a while, and in fact during this time of the pandemic. But the face shields, due to their component materials, are re-useable because they can be easily sterilised,” he told From the Campuses reporter, in a telephone interview.

He further explained, “While face masks generally cover the nose, mouth and perhaps the chin, the protective shield seeks to protect the face entirely. It’s now left to the consumer, depending on the circumstance, whether to add a facemask underneath the shield or not.

“And unlike the facemask which generally has to be adjusted over and over again as it doesn’t remain fixed, the face shield due to its configuration can remain on ones face for quite a long time needless of readjustment. Another benefit is that it does not come in close contact with ones facial skin, to such extent of increasing the tendency to itch.”

The Ogun state-born Anatomy lecturer said he produced the prototype of the shield with a team of scientists at the Neurophytotherapy Research Unit of the Department of Anatomy, as well as the Future of Medicine, Science, Technology and Innovation Group (FoMSTIG).

Folarin further disclosed that he and his team of scientists were already on the verge of optimising the prototype of his face shield.

He added that their soon-to-be-ready improved model will have only a frame and visor, excluding the band holding it together.

He explained that the optimised model of their protective shield would prevent germs from being trapped under the band, while also making it available for sale at a cheaper price.

The head of FoMSTIG, Professor Ahmed Adedeji, in a phone chat, commended Royhaan and his team, for producing a unique protective device, especially at a time when facemasks are not readily available, while those available are not offering enough protection. 

Adedeji, a Professor of Pharmacology at the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences at OOU, asserted that the face shield has the capacity to block any possible spill to the face.

“It is also re-useable after thorough disinfection and sterilization, thereby saving the health system a huge cost of replacement,” he added.

He said face shields had been tested and used widely in advanced countries, where their doctors and nurses have attested to their usefulness and potency against contracting some air-borne diseases and also warding off germs from the face, nose and mouth.

“What we intend to do as soon as we produce more face shields is to donate them to clinics and hospitals to try them on people,” he added.

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