HUBBALLI: The Indian Institute of Technology, Dharwad (IIT-D), has come up with face shields for medical staff fighting the coronavirus pandemic. It has manufactured 500 face shields and handed them over to KIMS Hospital in Hubballi.

The shields were designed with the help of 3D printing technology as per the guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and produced using affordable material.

Research scholars and faculty members at IIT-D along with volunteers in Dharwad designed and produced the shields at a minimal cost. They will help check the spread of the deadly virus to doctors and other medical staff treating coronavirus patients.

Face shields are part of the personal protective equipment (PPE) and act as a physical barrier against respiratory droplets sneezed or coughed out by patients. Ideally, health workers are expected to wear this over their goggles and face masks.

The Deputy Commissioner’s office here had placed an urgent order for 500 face shields for KIMS Hospital. “We started printing different types of prototypes using 3D printing technology and when we showed them to KIMS doctors, they were happy about the light weight and elegant design of the shields, hence we went ahead with their production,” said Prof Somashekara M A from the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

“The coronavirus mainly enters into the body through the mouth and nose and the PPEs available here were not giving full protection to the medical staff. At this juncture, the IIT-D team came to the rescue of the medical fraternity and provided them with face shields,” said a health official of KIMS.

“It’s difficult to procure face shields from outside at this point of time. There is no sufficient stock of shields even in hospitals in metro cities. Therefore, the administration thought of seeking the support of IIT to produce shields,” said an officer from the DC office.

At present, there is a huge demand for face shields from hospitals in Belagavi, Kalaburagi and other districts. Therefore, the IIT has created patterns for each part of the shield, which will help it produce them in large numbers. Any local community can learn and produce shields by making use of the technology, said a professor.

While the district administration procured the raw material for the production of the shields, IIT extended technical support. “By making use of locally available raw material, local industries can produce shields with the support of the institute. The institute is capable of producing shields in bulk quantity if it gets more orders,” said a professor.

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