Coventry University’s FabLab is manufacturing straps for facemasks to make them more comfortable for frontline NHS staff to wear during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As they are currently unable to welcome people to their site in Coventry’s City Arcade, the team has also created a series of free online courses, enabling them to continue to provide access to digital skills training for the community.
They have already delivered 900 Surgical Mask Tension Release Bands to University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire and directly to local NHS staff. The straps help to improve the fit and of masks and reduce pressure on ears from wearing face masks during long shift. They are made from surplus materials that would otherwise go to waste.
“FabLab’s mission has always been about supporting the local community, and I am so pleased that we have been able to contribute, in a small way, to the call for PPE in Coventry.
“Using open source designs, the team has been able to repurpose our facilities to support the NHS efforts during this global crisis with vital PPE equipment.
“The importance of increasing digital skills has been significantly highlighted by this situation, and our free online courses will continue to provide an important pathway for many into the digital design, circular economy and manufacturing sector.”
FabLab Co-Founder and Director, Sinead Ouillon from Coventry University’s Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations (CTPSR)
Launched by CTPSR in partnership with Coventry City Council, FabLab Coventry is one of a network of community fabrication labs across the world, providing open access to digital design and fabrication learning and equipment.
The production efforts are being coordinated by Coventry University’s Faculty of Engineering, Environment and Computing, which is utilising the technical equipment available across campus to produce much-needed face shield headband frames and clear face visors.
FabLab Coventry’s short online courses, including textile and graphic design tutorials, are available via their website, and are designed for learners using the free to download graphics software, Inkscape, making them accessible to everyone.