Prominent Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka created the Olympic Flame for the 2020 Tokyo Games. Made of recycled aluminum waste, it was fashioned into the shape of a cherry blossom—Japan’s most beloved flower. But now that the games have been postponed until next summer, Yoshioka has turned his attention elsewhere: a face shield to guard against coronavirus transmission.
Yoshioka’s “easy-to-make face shield” uses a hard, clear PVC sheet to protect the eyes, nose, and mouth—COVID-19’s favorite entry points into the respiratory system. The free template provides detailed measurements for both the size of openings for glasses and the thickness of the plastic boundary (clear PVC sheets can usually be found at home improvement stores). With three easy steps—print out the paper template, place it on top of the plastic sheet to cut out the shape, and attach it to the frame of glasses—citizens and healthcare workers alike can create their own personal protective equipment as products remain scarce. (There’s even a handy instructional video on Yoshioka’s website, which shows how the natural curve of glasses frames bends the plastic to the shape of the face without any folding or additional tools.)
Due to the highly contagious nature of the coronavirus, which most experts claim can travel via droplets up to six feet, doctors aren’t just urging medical professionals to wear face coverings at all times but the general population as well. Anytime someone leaves the home, the best way to prevent infection is to have the most vulnerable entry points protected. Masks have been heavily promoted as the equipment of choice, but now hospital epidemiologists in Iowa suggest that face shields like Yoshioka’s are an even better solution because they cover a greater surface area and help keep wearers from touching their face.
“Importantly, face shields are durable, can be cleaned after use, reused repeatedly, and for many people are more comfortable than face masks. Because these shields are reusable and are diversified across the supply chains of multiple industries, the current supply is less limited than for face masks,” write Dr. Michael Edmond and Dr. Daniel Diekema, infectious disease specialists in Iowa City.
In 2010, Yoshioka was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People. Over the last decade, he’s contributed his design skills to everything from a transparent cellphone to a “church” made of 500 crystal prisms.