Today’s Solutions: December 01, 2021

Many types of face masks used in hospitals by nurses and doctors, like the N95, aren’t designed to be reusable. But due to a shortage of such protective gear, frontline workers have no other choice than to use the masks over and over again, putting them at higher risk of contracting the virus.

With that in mind, a Dutch design studio has developed a DIY kit made from a basic set of parts including a storage box from IKEA and a UV-C light, to quickly give frontline workers an option to try to decontaminate masks so they can safely be reused.

The new kit relies on UV-C light, a type of short-wavelength ultraviolet light that breaks apart genetic material in germs. With a handful of other parts, including reflective material to line the IKEA box and wiring, it’s possible to build with simple tools. The kit also includes 3D-printed parts for those who have access to a 3D printer.

A German lab tested a prototype of the kit on masks contaminated with a virus similar to the COVID-19 and found that the system reduced the virus more than 100,000 times within six minutes. Now the team is testing the kit with the novel coronavirus.

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