PETALING JAYA, March 31 ― Malaysians are rallying to help their fellow citizens in battling Covid-19.
While some are making Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as surgical gowns and face shields, people like Kenneth Lim Shang Han, Brian Lee and their team have come forward to produce makeshift pressure pods.
They have joined an open source community on Facebook with other Malaysians across the country to aid the efforts of frontliners by manufacturing PPEs.
“This open source community is the true Malaysian culture through which we stand together despite race, culture or region, and initiate a movement to help out in any way possible,” said Lim.
“We may seem cold to each other at times, but during hard times we see the real quality of Malaysians.”
Lim graduated with a major in architecture and is now the executive director of a signage making and signboard supplying company called Vortex Media Sdn Bhd.
Since the movement control order (MCO) was initiated, he has been using company facilities to produce “negative pressure pods” to be used in Covid-19 treatment and screening.
He said that Dr Tan Guo Jeng and Dr Khairul Azri Sabri from the University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) approached his friend Lee, a prop builder from Macam Yes Studios, to build a prototype for their negative pressure pod design.
“Brian designed the booths based on the designs and input from Dr Tan and Dr Khairul. Frontliners are not machines. They have families, they have friends and as much to lose as we do,” said Lim.
“So we decided to help them out by initiating the ‘Project Cov-shield Prototype 1’ and create a negative pressure pod like the isolation booths with the help of some specialists and doctors.”
“These booths save time, PPE resources and minimise the risk of exposure to the frontline medical staff, so UMMC doctors reached out to us and gave us some input about the design as well.”
He added that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has also been a big help with their efforts, as representatives from the MCMC connected him with other maker communities around the country to get more feedback and ideas for his prototype.
“When I posted about our Cov-shield, the MCMC approached me on Facebook and shared useful information with us on how we can make the second prototype better,” said Lim.
“They are supporting and collaborating with a lot of maker communities on the ground in different states.”
The MCMC is helping out these makers around the country through “myMaker”, an initiative started to raise public awareness for STEM, as it aims to interconnect the different maker communities with shared knowledge, expertise and materials.
Other maker communities around the country such as the University College of Technology Sarawak, Technical University of Malaysia Melaka, Universiti Utara Malaysia and Kinabalu Coders have also been producing other PPEs like face shields and shoe covers.
Lim added that while the MCMC has played its role as “connecter” and helped his team progress with their prototype, Lim said that there is always room for more people to help, as he described they still need help to improve the pod design and with material acquisition.
“We hope that this invention is able to protect our frontliners. We plan to make it speedily deployable and fast for many other makers to use nationwide,” said Lim.
“We alone cannot deploy it in such a short time and we can’t afford to quarantine anymore trained medical staff either. For every minute we waste, a medical staff is put at risk.”
Lim said that his team make the negative pressure pods mostly out of acrylic and aluminium sheets and are in need of other mechanical supplies such as industrial exhaust fans, portable air conditioners, biochemical resistant gloves and HEPA filters.
He reiterated that acquiring these supplies is extremely time-sensitive and while he appreciated the public thanking him for his efforts, he’d prefer if they helped him get the supplies they need instead.
If you are keen to help Lim and his team at Vortex Media you can call Kenneth at 017-7238873.
Alternatively, if you want to help other maker communities in the country with their efforts, you can visit the Open Source Community Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MalaysiaAgainstCOVID19/.