3D Printed Medical Goggles Promise to Make Life Easier For Medical Professionals

Our medical workers deserve the very best. 

Countless images over the last few months have reminded us just how hard these individuals are working to safeguard our health and our future. These images remind us how incredible these people are and how much we owe them. That being said, we’re also reminded just how much stress these medical workers face on a daily basis. 

Some of the most shocking viral images have depicted doctors and nurses with deep gashes through their faces, the result of wearing uncomfortable masks and goggles throughout their long, arduous shifts. It goes without saying that these workers should be as comfortable as possible as they work so hard to fight this pandemic. 

Researchers at the State Key Lab of CAD&CG of Zhejiang University have a solution. They have created 3-D printed face goggles that will conform perfectly to the shape of the individual’s face, resulting in more comfortable wear over longer periods of time. Professor Zhou Kun is developing face-scanning technology to ensure the printed goggles perfectly fit each individual. 

The benefits for this approach are two-fold. Not only are fully-customized goggles more comfortable, but they also provide a tighter seal, offering greater degrees of protection against airborne contaminants and viruses. Everyone has a slightly different shape to their face, and the contours of their cheeks, eye sockets, and nose bridges require distinctly designed goggles for ultimate comfort. 

The process of actually creating these goggles might seem complicated, but clinical trials are already underway in at least two hospitals in Hangzhou. Zhou Kun’s research facility has since applied for a national patent, and these personalized goggles might become more widespread in the coming months and years. Assumedly, the process would be pretty straightforward: The entire medical staff would get facial scans, and then this data would be saved and sent to the 3-D printing lab. Following this, an automated process would simply go through each saved file containing the facial scan data, and the 3-D printer would manufacture an entire supply of goggles for the entire hospital. 

So what are medical staff saying about these new goggles? According to them, they represent a major improvement on previously uncomfortable eyewear: “These goggles are much more comfortable to wear. The entire ring fits on the eye socket, and pressure on the face is evenly distributed. Even if the goggles are worn all day, the marks left on the face are not too obvious and they disappear soon after it’s taken off. The lens is directly installed on the goggles so there is no need to wear glasses inside the goggle anymore, and the fogging problem is greatly improved.”

We may soon see these goggles pop up in hospitals all over the globe. Not only that, but the concept could be used for all kinds of new types of eyewear. Think about it: You could order a pair of sunglasses or sports goggles that are perfectly customized to the shape of your face. Zhou Kun also points out that his technology could be used to create exceedingly comfortable VR goggles for gamers. 

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