Innovation That Matters

The isolation hood | Photo source Graduate School of Design Fabrication Lab

Designers collaborate to make transparent patient isolation hoods

Health & Wellbeing

The lightweight hoods keep air-borne particles away from caregivers while providing flexible use for a variety of medical needs

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A collaborative effort between multiple Harvard University teams and disciplines has resulted in a new piece of personal protective equipment (PPE). Designed specifically to better protect healthcare providers, the transparent patient isolation hoods cover a patient’s head and the top part of their body. The hoods have a negative level of air pressure within, which pulls airborne particles away from healthcare providers. Made of a single piece of lightweight plastic, the hoods contain several openings for a doctor’s arms and equipment such as a breathing tube.

Made in the university’s Graduate School of Design Fabrication Lab, the hoods were designed through an iterative process that included on-site testing at Massachusetts General Hospital. Only one day after the first live trial, further design analysis and prototyping completed. The rapid deployment plan is for 20 to 30 hoods to be further tested in the hospital’s intensive care unit before production increases.

The Fabrication Lab is currently in the midst of producing thousands of pieces of PPE, with its set of more than 100 3D printers. The Lab has asked for donations of materials to help scale up its ability to supply area hospitals.

As the world prepares to ease its way back towards what will no doubt be a new normal, innovators are anticipating a host of additional societal requirements. Projects spotted by Springwise doing just this include an antiviral surface coating and an AI-powered social distance sensor for people returning to work.

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