Clint Jones is a hospital anaesthetist who was working on the NHS frontline during the height of the Covid 19 pandemic. As an experienced clinician, he recognised that the standard visors supplied do not provide complete 360-degree protection. He had an idea that could work, so he approached the team at CAL International to help turn his concept into product reality.
The Covid 19 crisis has brought aerosol contamination to the forefront of everyone’s thinking. Due to working as a hospital anaesthetist, Clint knows that patient intubation is one of the highest risk procedures as droplet dispersal is very difficult to manage when standing above patients that are lying down. He was very conscious that the standard visors provided flare outwards, therefore offering little protection downwards. Many of his colleagues also felt the same.
When he looked at the current PPE options, he saw numerous limitations, for example, quality goggles are generally not disposable, they fail to provide complete skin cover and they fog after extended use therefore tempting healthcare workers to manipulate them with contaminated gloved hands. Visors in use within healthcare systems are also of variable quality, comfort and design. Flaring at the sides and below counter the fogging issues, however increase the risk of skin exposure to respiratory droplets and thus later self-inoculation.
Clint’s idea was for a 360-degree disposable wrap-around visor which he named the ‘Bubble Visor’. As with all design concepts it started with a rough drawing.
Clint realised the he needed professional engineering design support in order to turn his idea and vision into a reality and so he contacted CAL International. The CAL engineering team was the perfect choice for Clint as we are used to developing early design concepts and have a lot of experience designing personal protective equipment.
This type of work requires close collaboration and an iterative design cycle as both parties work together to identify and solve every design issue in order. The initial sketching was modelled into CAL’s CAD system and each iteration was subsequently modelled until the design solution was reached. As engineers, we call this the evaluation and design stage but it’s more important to see it from the customers perspective.
“Clinicians and Engineers think about things quite differently, and Bubble Visor is the product of both working together in synergy. It was extremely invigorating working with the CAL team as my vision quickly became a much-improved reality.”
Dr Clint Jones
Once the final design was agreed, multiple sets of Bubble Visor prototypes were delivered by CAL’s in-house rapid prototyping team.
The final Bubble Visor prototypes offer frontal and lateral wraparound droplet protection of the neck, face and related mucous membranes (eyes, nose and lips). The 360-degree facial protection minimises the risk of both infection and user self-inoculation. In addition, the unique design is comfortable, does not fog and importantly maintains the user’s situational awareness. Bubble Visor can be assembled in less than two minutes and is fully adjustable.
Numerous sets of Bubble Visor have been sent to local NHS frontline staff to test with early feedback being overwhelmingly positive. The prototypes are lightweight, comfortable to wear and fit well over 3M and JSP Half Mask Respirators.
In September 2020, 100 Bubble Visors will be sent to local hospitals in Liverpool with feedback being collected for evaluation and optimisation before moving to the mass production phase.
Founded in 2005 by Cliff Kirby, CAL International is a high-end design engineering company that specialises in combining precision design with cutting-edge technology to deliver high quality, innovative solutions.
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