A senior engineering instructor at UBC’s Okanagan campus has a big desire to battle the coronavirus — from a mechanical engineering standpoint.
Since the start of the pandemic, Ray Taheri has been designing COVID-19 personal protective equipment tools to make things easier for the public and healthcare workers.
From door-handle openers to 3D-printed face shields to a small device that allows masks to be worn without the elastic bands cutting into the wearer’s ears, Taheri says his problem solving is designed to give people hope.
“Hope is what we all need in this hardship. We are navigating through unseen territory in the history of our species,” Taheri told Global News.
His latest COVID-19 design is a 3D-printed plastic adapter that can attach a clear plastic face shield to any baseball hat or brimmed cap.
The adapter was born from a discussion that Taheri had with makerspace UBCO manager Cortnee Chulo.
“We thought about why not have something that goes on top of a baseball cap,” Taheri explained.
“I tried over a dozen different types of baseball caps; smaller, larger, different curvature and it works. The way I designed it, it works for every single of them,” Taheri said.
“It’s really robust; it doesn’t fall off, it stays there.”
It’s important to note that a face shield is not considered the same as a face mask and does not pass as a face mask where wearing face masks are mandatory.
However, a face shield does offer an added layer of protection to the wearer and is most commonly used by healthcare workers in combination with a face mask.
Taheri said he’s extremely happy with the cap adapter’s design merits.
“It’s very light, it’s about 50 grams altogether,” said Taheri.
Notably, Taheri says the best part of the adapter is that it’s made from a special material that can clean itself overnight.
“It’s antimicrobial filaments which actually sterilizes itself,” Taheri said.
Taheri has dedicated the design to a friend, Omid Fahandej, who recently died in a car accident.
“Omid is the Persian word for hope,” Taheri said. “Hope is the strongest thing of all.”
Taheri is hoping someone will partner with UBCO to mass-produce the face shield hat adapter as a non-profit endeavour.