Students at Malaysian universities hard at work to make, distribute face shields for frontliners amid Covid-19 pandemic

Lead Image/pijimage5: Lim Kai Wen and his team members posing together with 1,450 sets of face shields. — Photo courtesy of Lim Kai Wen.
Lead Image/pijimage5: Lim Kai Wen and his team members posing together with 1,450 sets of face shields. — Photo courtesy of Lim Kai Wen.

PETALING JAYA, April 17 — Students in universities around the country are doing their part in making face shields for frontliners amid the Covid-19 crisis.

They are either teaming up with creative platforms or utilising their own workforce to create these crucial headgear for medical professionals.

Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman engineering student, Lim Kai Wen who spearheaded his own enterprise, has been making face shields for frontliners together with four other team members.

He and his team started by downloading face shield templates that were shared online by other organisations.

They then made improvements on the original templates so that they would be durable and flexible in nature.

“Other modifications included making simpler designs and reducing the printing time - so that more face shields can be made in a shorter period of time.

“A sponge tool is also attached to each of the face shields for the wearer’s comfort.”

“We’ve received good feedback so far — especially with the lightweight design as users are able to wear them for a longer period of time.”

Currently, Lim and his team have sent 1,000 face shields to Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and is making another 3,000 more to be distributed elsewhere.

Similarly, Taylors University’s Me.reka Makerspace — a collaborative creative hub for academics, industry players and entrepreneurial communities have also delivered face shields across the nation.

The university which collaborated with other social enterprises such as Me.reka, Biji-biji Initiative and their partners have launched a digital platform to gather makers, volunteers and even frontliners.

Face shield that was made by team members of Taylors University’s Me.reka Makerspace. — Picture courtesy of Taylors University’s Me.reka Makerspace.
Face shield that was made by team members of Taylors University’s Me.reka Makerspace. — Picture courtesy of Taylors University’s Me.reka Makerspace.

“Through this online platform, 20,340 units of face shields with 21,900 replacement parts were given out to frontliners across the nation,” said Taylor’s Me.reka Makerspace co-director, William Koong.

An important aspect about the digital platform initiative was that producers lacking supplies from other states or frontliners in need of personal protective equipment were able to make requests — and have them filled by various partners online.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia also launched a face shield project led by the Centre for Community and Industry Network  director, Associate Professor Johari Surif.

Johari (right) trying out the face shields made by Wong (left). — Picture courtesy of Hidayati Mokhtar.
Johari (right) trying out the face shields made by Wong (left). — Picture courtesy of Hidayati Mokhtar.

Consisting of 40 lecturers and students from various facilities, they have made and distributed a total of 5,000 units of face shields to frontliners in Kuala Lumpur and Johor.

The 3D face shields models were created using special software and objects and are printed and produced using Fused Deposition Modeling Technology — a popular method of additive manufacturing technology.

He also said that another senior lecturer from the engineering faculty, Wong Tuck Whye and his family members had also created ‘DIY Face Shield’ using home-made items.

“His successful venture has created and distributed 1,800 units of disposable face shields made from furniture factories for foam and stationery,” said Johari.

As to why it was crucial for universities to help, he said that with this current outbreak, it was important to help these medical professionals who are struggling to serve the people.

Face shields made by UTM's lecturers and students, ready to be distributed to hospitals. — Picture courtesy of Hidayati Mokhtar.
Face shields made by UTM's lecturers and students, ready to be distributed to hospitals. — Picture courtesy of Hidayati Mokhtar.

“Our university has the facilities and expertise to assist the frontliners such as laser cutting machines and 3D printers capable of producing this face shield.

“Universities are not only institutions to educate and teach but are also entitled to their university social responsibility (USR) to help the community especially amid these trying times.”

Related Articles