Joshua Botkin, Entreprenuer in Residence at the Institute, recently participated in a multi-discipline design charette hosted by the U-M Stamps School of Art & Design. Teams were challenged to improve procedures and products used in Ebola healthcare, from better ways to remove gloves and protective gear to a device that allows an actual physical embrace between an infected patient and a caregiver or family member.
Teams had three days to conceptualize, design, and create their inventions, which were to focus on one of three key areas: design of personal protection equipment; health communication across cultural and linguistic barriers; and transportation of infected and diseased bodies.
Joshua’s team chose to focus on improving personal protective equipment. Because the disease is transmitted through contact with bodily fluids, containment is essential—but protective suits are expensive and only fit certain body types and sizes. Removing suits and rubber gloves without coming into contact with any contaminants on them can also be difficult.
Together, the team devised a disposable, inexpensive strap that could be added to protective suits to make them easier to remove safely. To solve the problem of suits only fitting a narrow set of body types, they created a visor mask that could be combined with any waterproof material to create an emergency suit.
Safe glove removal also proves difficult for field workers, so Joshua and his team devised two solutions: a disposable sticker that attaches to the inside of the glove, and a reusable, sanitizable glove removal hook.
“This event was a powerful example of how to leverage the amazing knowledge and skills that exist across campus,” said Joshua, who also coaches student teams involved in the Dare to Dream Grant, Michigan Business Challenge, and Tech Arb student programs. “It shows how U-M can provide students with a compelling experiential learning experience that simultaneously benefits society at large.”
For more information, and to read about other projects, visit the Stamps website here.