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

“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.

“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.

“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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