When Covid-19 struck, many countries found themselves running short on the essential Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) used by healthcare staff.
In some countries this caused a crisis of confidence in the way governments were handling the epidemic. Staff felt that they were unappreciated, and were expected to work without the tools that would keep them safe from a virulent infection.
Additionally, some groups became concerned at the impact on the environment, as PPE is often made using plastics and other non-biodegradable materials, and many PPE items can only be used once before being disposed of. With immense pressure already on staff resource, healthcare providers were inclined to dispose of reusable items, rather than risk staff safety or dedicate time to cleaning such equipment.
This project, run in collaboration with CloudFM, aims to develop an Internet of Things-based system which can safely sterilise healthcare equipment such as reusable PPE, using ultraviolet (UV) light.
Ultraviolet light is one of several ways that hospitals and other healthcare settings can disinfect equipment that could be used again. It is already used by many biomedical science laboratories, particularly those focused on microbiology, to disinfect equipment after use.
Our intelligent IoT-based system will minimise human involvement in the cleaning process, which reduces risk to frontline healthcare workers while simultaneously freeing staff resource for other tasks. By ensuring proper sterilisation of PPE and other equipment, we will be increasing the availability of these essential tools, reducing pressure on manufacturing systems, and reducing the financial and environmental impact. The system will be designed so it can be easily installed close to ICU wards, reducing the risk of virus spread by removing extended transportation time.
This project is run in partnership with CloudFM, funded by a grant from InnovateUK.