PETALING JAYA, May 5 — Vishan Nair Birakasan vowed to help medical frontliners after watching a video of them wearing makeshift face shields that were not sturdy in nature.
His resolve to help them was further strengthened when he found out that most of them lacked the important headgear.
The 25-year-old then embarked on a project to produce face shields from scratch using open-source templates, and a personal 3D printer.
Family members were then roped in to assist him in assembling them.
“Initially, I funded this initiative with the help of my own parents before requesting for crowdfunding as demands for face shields grew from frontliners,” said Vishan.
“Through this crowdfunding, I managed to ramp up the production scale and have produced up to 1,030 face shields till date.
“My initial target of making these face shields was 100 - and I poured in close to 15 hours a day to make an estimated 10 face shields per day,” he told Malay Mail.
After making them with his family, Vishan has now banded together with 18 other volunteers including experts from Klang Valley and as a result, has distributed an estimated 8,000 face shields across over 40 hospitals.
He also said that there were lessons learned along the way too in making these face shields such as making sure the efficiency was met in terms of speed without compromising quality.
“From making a face shield that took almost two hours to reducing its time taken to 40 minutes was an achievement to me when designing the face shields,” he said.
“As a team, we also picked up tips and lessons from each other such as tweaking the designs of the face shields.
“We also managed to get in touch with frontliners through social media platforms and WhatsApp messages so that it was easier to know which hospitals lacked the shields.”
No ordinary feat for my amazing team. 300 sent so far to hospitals nearby last Saturday and today respectively. 100 to Hospital Putrajaya and 200 to Pusat Perubatan Universiti Malaya! Maximum credits goes out to our heroes, frontliners facing this crisis. But we will do what we can as makers. Let's continue this momentum! #malaysiacovid19 #malaysia #3dprintinglife #stemeducation
He said, “During the movement control order when travelling was restricted, the face shields were transported from our homes to the hospitals through Grab deliveries.
“There were times too when a few volunteers picked-up these items directly from our homes before distributing them to frontline workers.”
Some of the hospitals that the team have distributed their face shields to include Putrajaya Hospital, University Malaya Medical Centre and other public health centres.
Nair completed his engineering masters from Sheffield University last year and is hoping to pursue his PHD studies if he is able to get funds from the government or private sector.
He made the nation proud last year when he led a rocket team competition known as the world’s largest rocket engineering competition, where the rocket they created had set a new altitude record in Spaceport America Cup, United States.