Currently there is an N-95 mask shortage around the globe. Millions of healthcare professionals are facing a mask shortage and thus are being forced to reuse N-95 masks.
Professionals are using plastic containers and paper bags to store masks for reuse. These are crude and unsanitary methods which do not kill the bacteria and can therefore increase the risk of infection.
What can we do to combat this issue and help our healthcare workers on the front line?
What it does:
Our product, Fusion, is a an effective solution to combat the problems of uncleanly mask storage.
Fusion is a portable box that allows users to store masks and sterilize them using UVC LED light. This allows masks to be stored cleanly and in an effective manner, while still retaining breathability which is necessary for the mask's storage.
UVC light only takes a few minutes to clean masks which means that users can clean masks quickly without much delay.
One concern we had was about the cost of the storage container, but since almost all of the parts can be 3D printed, it should not be expensive.
How we built it:
We used Fusion 360 over the course of the weekend to design a CAD model which we later 3D printed with a Creality Ender 3 as a proof of concept. We then used a basic LED light to simulate the UV light since we did not have access to a UV LED.
Challenges we ran into:
The ideanation process was the most difficult aspect of this challenge. Due to PPE's restrictive nature in order to retain safety, it took our team multiple hours of brainstorming to conceive a product which could retain safety while benefiting the PPE.
Accomplishments that we're proud of:
We are proud of our CAD model since it turned out to function well despite limited testing! Likewise, we are happy to say that we Macgyvered a working prototype as well. Although we ran short on time 3D printing the model, the basic concept was proven to work well.
We are also proud of the fact that we were able to design, create, and present an idea in such a small time frame!
What we learned:
Firstly, this challenge gave us the opportunity to learn how to do very thorough research: we searched across the internet not only for products similar to ours, but also for studies that could prove that our idea would function as we wished. Along with this, we gained the experience of presenting this research and our solution to a professional audience, an opportunity that we high-schoolers and hopeful entrepreneurs are grateful for!
What's next for Team Fusion:
Our goal after this competition is to continue our research into our idea by digging deeper into the internet and reaching out to professionals in the field of our product. If we can confirm that we are the first to invent this product and that it can succeed in the real world, then we will file for a Provisional Patent Application (PPA), which will grant us protection over the idea so that we can reach out to companies to license the product. Although we would not profit as much through this strategy, our product would reach the market much faster, therefore getting it to those who need it (first responders, other individuals) as fast as possible. With licensing, our product reaches all of the stores to whom the company sells, unlike if we started our own company.