UBCO engineering instructor designs small device with big impact for health workers

Click to play video: 'Preventing ear pain from face masks'
Preventing ear pain from face masks
WATCH: A University of British Columbia Okanagan, School of Engineering instructor is trying to make a difference anywhere and everywhere he can when it comes to COVID-19. – Apr 20, 2020

“We are in a state of war with COVID-19,” said Ray Taheri,  senior instructor at the University of British Columbia’s School of Engineering.

Taheri isn’t on the front lines of that battle, but he’s still fighting the good fight, so to speak.

Whether it’s creating COVID-19 coping tools like his door-handle opener or 3D-printed face shields, Taheri continues to find creative and innovative ways to help arm health-care workers with unique protective equipment or PPE.

“Eventually we want to make this accessible commercially to everyone,” Taheri said of his latest design.

The flexible plastic oval he’s designed is meant to help health-care workers with the pain of wearing a face mask eight hours a day.

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“This thing has seven different setups,” Taheri said of the device’s sizing system.

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The “little thing” that Taheri has fabricated but yet to name is actually designed to allow PPE face masks to be worn without their elastic bands cutting into backs of the wearer’s ears.

Taheri’s design is slightly larger than one made by B.C. boy scout.

Quinn Callander, 12, has created several “ear gears” with his 3D printer, sparking others around the world to put their home technology to good use during the pandemic.

Click to play video: 'Maple Ridge scout goes world-wide with “ear gear”'
Maple Ridge scout goes world-wide with “ear gear”

“It does cause a little bit of excoriation at the back of your ears,” Dorothy Hunter, a registered nurse at Kelowna General Hospital, admitted when approached about comfort of a surgical mask.

Taheri provided several of his inventions to be given to staff at KGH as a test run.

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“This is such a nice thing that everybody is doing for us,” Hunter said of Taheri’s device.

The ear-savers went over well with those who tried them on with their masks.

“We are all into this together there is only one way to get out and that is we all collectively help each other,” Taheri said.  ​

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