Technologies using new manufacturing techniques are closing shortages in necessary medical personal protective equipment (PPE) in the Philippines as it battles COVID-19 pandemic.

Along with the cooperation of Fulbright College, Western Philippines University, and the UP Alumni Association- Palawan Chapter, 172 pieces of make-shift frames assembled into face shields were produced and distributed to hospitals and health centers all over Palawan. The frames for the face shields were designed and produced using an industrial 3D printer provided by DOST-MIMAROPA to the agency’s assisted Innovation Laboratory (Inno Lab) located in Western Philippines University, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

The establishment of the Innovation Laboratory is a project of DOST-MIMAROPA in partnership with WPU started in 2018 that aims to promote innovation in Palawan by creating a space where ideas and designs can be turned into actual prototypes or products. The Inno Lab is open for use of makers, students, designers, engineers, researchers, hobbyists, inventors, and innovators in the province.

The Inno Lab houses several equipment provided by DOST-MIMAROPA including: CNC Mill Machine used for engraving, facing, drilling, and cutting of metal, wood, plastic, and other solid materials except glass; industrial 3d printer for printing of large 3D items; and a general-purpose 3D printer for printing of small 3D printed items.

During its operation, students and faculties from WPU and other schools and universities in Puerto Princesa use the Innovation Laboratory to turn their research outputs into actual prototypes. Mostly, items fabricated in the Inno Lab are small parts that is unique for the projector parts that are not readily available in the market.  Some of the items fabricated through Inno Lab Include ESP WIFI Button, Arduino Case and Module Relay, and Box Molder among others.

The production of the frames at the Inno Lab continues while plans on improving the laboratory and its services is also underway to ensure that quality innovation support can be given to clients.

All these initiatives are perfect realization of what was envisioned in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, wherein projects and programs that stimulate innovation become essential in addressing challenges and achieving local and national development goals. In this fight against COVID-19, DOST-MIMAROPA will continue bringing Science for the People.