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NEWS | May 21, 2020

NSWC PCD Procurement Lead Designs Lip Reading Kit

By Susan H. Lawson NSWC PCD

Jonathan Chapman, Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) procurement lead designed a lip reading kit for the hearing impaired with the help of fellow employees and a 3D printer.

“A need was brought to my attention to help people with hearing impairments during COVID-19,” said Chapman.  “Masks are a wonderful answer to keep the workforce safe during this time but can bring communication to a complete stop for personnel who rely on their extraordinary ability to lip read.”

Chapman developed the idea with a desire to design a tool that would stay in the control of the individual so they would always be able to communicate no matter where on base their job took them.

With an extremely low supply for masks and the need for 100 percent of the workforce to obtain a clear mask, Chapman developed the hand held concept.  After settling on a design and working on sketches with Dr. Chris Musto, Hydrospace Laboratory manager at NSWC PCD, Chapman obtained an endorsement from the Equal Employment Opportunity office.

Chapman and Musto used a 3D printer at NSWC PCD to achieve the end-result for his design of a simple handle that would hold a clear sheet to aid in the protection of individuals needing to lower their mask and communicate via lip reading.

“I am thankful we were able to create this kit for our hearing impaired team members,” said Musto.

The kit consists of a handle, three face-shield inserts, one terry cloth, alcohol prep pads, and a carrying case.  All components fit into the case making it easy to carry, keeping at desk areas, or loading to go in a laptop bag.

“It is really great to see these wonderful ideas coming from all parts of our organization through collaboration,” said Mike Adams, Corporate Operations department head at NSWC PCD.

The command currently has five kits ready to distribute with the ability to create more upon demand. 

“I hope the kits will serve the workforce well during this time,” said Chapman.