To aid the fight against Covid-19, Foster + Partners has designed a general-purpose prototype face visor, suitable for cleaning and reuse. It is specifically aimed at fast mass production.
The prototype visor, designed by a team of industrial designers, modelmakers, architects and analysts, is made from three components: a visor made from 0.5mm optically clear PETG, an interlocking soft PP headband, and a surgical silicone rubber head strap that ties the two together. These were all cut on the practice’s digital flatbed cutters by its printroom and modelmaking teams. Each visor can be cut from sheets in under 30 seconds and the elements can be assembled in under a minute. With a single cutting machine, we were able to cut and assemble components for 1,000 visor masks in a day, representing a reduction of days in the time taken to produce 3D-printed alternatives.
The visors can be produced and assembled or flat-packed and distributed in large quantities in a short span of time. An important advantage is that the visor can be easily disassembled, cleaned, sanitised and reused, addressing the growing shortage of raw materials for visor production. We are now delivering these prototype visors to a number of London hospitals where they are being tested. We are also exploring means of getting the design approved for mass production and use by health workers.
In 2020 the template designs and material specifications were shared as an open-source design asset. This was to encourage both designers and in particular large-scale manufacturers to investigate the potential of digital and laser cutting machines as an alternative to 3D printing technology.