M ZAHIDUL HAQUE
THE Fab Lab (Fabrication Laboratory) at Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University (SAU), Dhaka was established in January 2017 under the Higher Education Quality Enhance Project (HEQEP), implemented by Bangladesh University Grants Commission and funded by the World Bank. ‘A Fab Lab is typically equipped with an array of flexible computer-controlled tools that several different length scales and various materials with the aim to make almost anything”. The concept of Fab Lab was generated at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the USA with an objective to exploring the edges between computer science and physical science thereby finding out ways to transform data into things and things into data. Modern day research is actually moving towards the development of digital fabrication processes. Appreciating the dire need for a face shield to protect the frontline health workers from infection through cough and sneezes, the SAU Fab Lab started their work to designing a face shield. A graduate of SAU currently an instructor at Fab Lab, S M Anamul Arefin took the initiative to manufacturing a reliable face shield. It may be mentioned here that Arefin after completion of his MS in Genetics and Plant Breeding from SAU did a six-month course on principles and applications of digital fabrication at MIT. He worked hard with his team and came out successful in manufacturing a reusable, light plastic face shield. During this whole trial and error period of perfecting the face shield, SAU Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr. Kamal Uddin Ahamed and Fab Lab Director Prof. Dr. A H M Solaiman extended their fullest cooperation and inspiration. It is a great leap towards controlling COVID-19 infection. Quite a number of face shields have been distributed among doctors and other health workers. The BRAC under a MOU will take 2000 face shields from the SAU Fab Lab. The Fab Lab is charging only a token amount as the price to cover the cost of raw materials. It is important to indicate here that the face shield is properly sterilized before dispatching from the Fab lab. Prof. Dr. A H M Solaiman, Director of Fab Lab is hopeful that they will soon be able to design and manufacture disinfection chamber which they expect to install at the entrances of educational institutions, hospitals, shopping malls and other public places. The SAU VC Prof. Dr. Kamal Uddin Ahamed is keenly interested to extend all sorts of support to any innovative projects the faculties or post-grad students may undertake. It is hoped that the SAU VC will arrange the necessary fund to support the on-going and future projects of the Fab Lab.
Meanwhile, this author being a teacher feels that the teachers will also need to wear this face shield while performing their professional duties in class and labs while the students also need to use masks to protect themselves against coronavirus. Probably, the coronavirus will continue to rule this earth for a long time!
(The author is a Professor at the Department of Agricultural Extension and Information System, Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University, Dhaka)
M ZAHIDUL HAQUE