UCT engineers invent face shield using household items
Associate Professor Sudesh Sivarasu and his team of biomedical engineers at the University of Cape Town (UCT) have joined forces and created a face shield that can be made easily with household items.The ViZAR is just one of the team’s COVID-19 solutions to have been approved by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority.
It acts as a first line of defence between the user and any infectious and airborne particles as well as offers protection against harmful aerosols. It also prevents possible cross-contamination from users touching their faces.
Doing this allowed the team to scale their production to the order of a few thousand ViZARs a day.
Since being approved, the team has already manufactured over 13 000 of these ViZARs. They have donated 2 000 ViZARs to Groote Schuur Hospital, 5 000 to the Western Cape Department of Health, and 500 to District Six Community Health Centre. They have promised that more donations will follow.Making a ViZAR requires materials like an overhead projector transparency, elastic, foam and double-sided tape. All in all, a simplified DIY mask can be made according to the UCT ViZAR specifications with materials costing no more than R10.
African innovators have had to turn their attention to what’s available locally and will have to continue doing so for the foreseeable future.“Now that this is a challenge, it’s not a time to buckle to the pressure, but rather to be creative and innovative in the way we approach and solve this problem,” said Sivarasu.