As the country continues to see a sharp increase of COVID-19 cases, a group of Malaysians decided to combine their talents to build a device to better protect our medical frontliners
In a Facebook post published on 27 March, Kenneth Lim shared the news that he and his team had donated a COVID-19 testing booth to the University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC), Kuala Lumpur.
The device, which looks like a ticket booth or a bakery display refrigerator, is packed with crucial protective features. Lim told SAYS that it was built by taking into account advice from two UMMC medical professionals, namely Dr Tan Guo Jeng and Dr Khairul Azri Bin Sabri.
Lim told SAYS that the device took a team of nine to build in four days
Taking inspiration from the South Korean 'phone booth' COVID-19 testing station, Lim said the idea to give back to society during the Movement Control Order (MCO) came from Dr Tan, who relayed it to Lim's friend, video director Brian Lee.
Lim - an architect graduate and now a full-time signage builder under his company Vortex Media - was known among his friends as a hobbyist model builder. He builds pop culture models for fun, such as swords and robots.
Being fully aware of that, Lee suggested to Lim that they build a COVID-19 testing booth for Malaysia's frontliners. Together, the duo sourced for materials, and gathered information and support from various parties, such as Dr Tan and Dr Khairul who gave expert medical advice on what a testing booth should have.
They named the booth 'COV Shield Prototype 1, Negative Pressure Pod'
Photos and videos show that the device has a pair of built-in gloves that allow frontliners to conduct tests on suspected COVID-19 patients behind the protection of an acrylic panel.
It also has a valve for the suspected COVID-19 patients to pass their biological samples to the medical officers without contact, much like a deal tray at a currency exchange counter.
"The hospital staff and doctors at the UMMC were excited to receive the testing booth as it helps them save time and resource on personal protective equipment (PPE)," Lim said, adding that the testing booth was a self-funded project built in Vortex Media's workshop.
The team is currently drafting the second prototype, which they aim to build in one day as it has to be easy to mass deploy
"Prototype 2 is designed in a way that the blueprint can be released to the public and have the whole nation building it together," Lim told SAYS, "Prototype 1 was a bit over-engineered, hard to deploy in a short time."
Lim and Lee are also urging the public to help them get in touch with medical equipment suppliers as many of them are closed during the MCO.
"Prototype 1 has the concept right but the ventilation system is not strong enough, as we have no access to professional equipment parts during the MCO," Lim explained.
Lim said the team is looking for suppliers of high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, portable air conditioners, and exhaust fans strong enough to create a laminar flow or negative/positive pressure of 2m³.
We need professionals to provide these parts to save lives.
Lim added that after building the first prototype, more citizens and doctors alike have come forward to fund his project.
If you wish to fund Lim's Prototype 2 project or help the team connect with medical equipment suppliers, you can reach out to him at his Facebook profile here.