OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

A Pivot: From Aircraft Black Boxes to Medical Face Shields

A company which normally specializes in computer vision systems for the aviation industry pivots to produce medical face shields.

Photo of Percept Systems
2 0

Written by

On March 20th, the Canadian Government put out a public plea for manufacturers to re-tool to produce much needed supplies for the COVID-19 pandemic. Percept Systems, a company which normally produces specialized computer vision systems for the aviation industry, stepped up to the plate. Within 48 hours, and with the help of a 3D printer, their R&D team came up with an initial design for medical-grade face shields. However, the design took 2 hours to print - way too long for industrial manufacturing. The company then partnered with a local manufacturer of body armor and used a laser cutter to reduce production time to 2 minutes. They obtained a Health Canada medical device establishment license and won a Government contract to begin supplying large quantities of domestically-manufactured face shields to be distributed to medical facilities all over the country.

What is the need are you focusing on?

Canada's shortage of PPE, specifically medical-grade face shields.

What is the best example of business adaption you’ve seen in response to COVID-19?

When the Government of Canada put out an urgent call for manufacturers to re-tool to produce much-needed medical equipment for the COVID-19 pandemic, Percept Systems, a company which normally produces specialized computer vision systems for the aviation industry, stepped up to the plate. The company, which produces artificial intelligence camera systems and black boxes for small commercial aircraft is familiar with operating in highly-regulated spaces. Their R&D team, which is familiar with rapid development cycles, worked around the clock for 48 hours to perfect a mass-producible face shield design. Once complete, the company partnered with a body armor manufacturer to produce the design, gathered the necessary government approvals, and started delivering the much-needed supplies to hospitals and front-line workers around the country.

What is your profession?


Where are you located (country)?


Where are you located (region)?

  • North America

Which industry do you work in?

  • Self Employed

Are you aware of any open source efforts, hackathons or other collaborative efforts related to your submission? Are you participating in these efforts?

Yes. Trotec Canada, a manufacturer of laser cutters has compiled a list of laser cutters that are available for COVID-19-related tasks. We are also participating in a number of community 3D-printing efforts, including those spearheaded by Prusa 3D printers in the Czech Republic, and 3D Hubs.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Isaac Jumba

Welcome to the challenge Percept Systems . It is exciting to learn about your idea, especially around re-using what is already availble. I'm curious what the progress has been so far.

Since you are suggesting a new idea that might benefit from more feedback, would it be possible for you to re-submit the under the ideas section: for considering for the challenge prize with other ideas?

Photo of Percept Systems

Isaac Jumba Yes, will do. We didn't realize that only the IDEAS category will be considered for the challenge prize. Thanks for the heads up!