Imperial College London and Community Jameel support Saudi innovator in COVID-19 research

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August 8, 2020
  • Mohanad Bahshwan is part of a team applying advanced computing and design techniques to create custom-fit face masks to prevent injuries caused by poor-fitting PPE worn for an extended period of time
  • The masks can be printed on any 3D printer and will be available for use by healthcare workers and others around the world
  • The Community Jameel Imperial College COVID-19 Excellence Fund supports research projects into the impact, understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19

An Imperial College London team of researchers that includes Saudi engineer Mohanad Bahshwan has received support from Community Jameel, the global philanthropy, for Mensura Mask, a new project using advanced image processing algorithms and 3D printing to create bespoke face masks. Responding to COVID-19, the team streamlined the process of producing custom-fit face masks to prevent injuries caused by poor-fitting PPE worn for an extended period of time, especially by the healthcare workers.

Mohanad, a PhD candidate at Imperial College, is part of an eight-strong team of coding and design experts overseen by Dr Connor Myant from Imperial’s Dyson School of Design Engineering, and led by Principle Researcher Shiya Li. The team aims to provide a design platform that will see healthcare workers and others scanning their own face using a smartphone so that the custom-fit PPE can be automatically designed for them and delivered at scale.

The project received support from the Community Jameel Imperial College COVID-19 Excellence Fund, which drives the scale-up of crucial projects that could have a major impact in the global fight against the virus.

Speaking about the support from the fund, Mohanad Bahshwan said: “Our team is working non-stop and collaborating virtually between Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the UK, and Belgium, and we are proud of what we have accomplished so far, but it is clear that there is much more work to do. We are grateful for the support provided by Community Jameel and Imperial College and we look forward to accelerating the development of our platform which will support the crucial work healthcare workers are doing around the world.”

Mohammed Hakami, executive director for business development at Community Jameel, said: “The global health challenge posed by this pandemic is unprecendented and as the virus continues to spread in some of the most vulnerable parts of the world, the fight is far from over. This project at Imperial’s Dyson School of Design Engineering has the potential to provide healthcare workers around the world with PPE they desperately need and we are proud to support this vital project through the new Excellence Fund.”

The fund is one element of Community Jameel’s extensive COVID-19 response which includes the work of the Jameel Institute, also at Imperial College, to model the spread of the virus, and the AI Cures initiative at the Jameel Clinic at MIT, which is applying machine learning to discover promising antiretrovirals to treat the disease.

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