Sun Dayong designs wearable shield to protect against coronavirus outbreaks
Chinese architect Sun Dayong has created a conceptual design for a body shield that would protect a wearer during a coronavirus outbreak by using UV light to sterilise itself.
Named Be a Bat Man, the mobile safety device would be for "people who are exposed to the dangerous situation during the coronavirus emergency", said Sun Dayong, who co-founded architecture studio Penda.
The shield would be made from carbon fibre supports shaped like batwings that would be worn like a backpack. A PVC film would stretch between these supports, like the membrane of a bat's wing.
Wires embedded in the plastic would heat up to a temperature high enough to kill any pathogens on them, creating a sterile environment inside for the wearer.
"The coronavirus will be killed by temperatures of 56 degrees Celscius," said Sun Dayong, who is a judge for Dezeen Awards 2020.
"The PVC film cover is like our car windshields – there are heater wire in between the glass for heat the ice and snow in the winter," he told Dezeen.
"But sure we still need to do lot of work with engineers for the real production."
Sun Dayong hopes to find a backer to turn the concept into a reality, and would offer his services as a designer free of charge.
After an epidemic is contained, he thinks the bat-like shields could be upgraded with Google Glass technology, or simply be used as a "unique private mobile space for people".
The project is called Be a Bat Man, in reference to the fictional superhero who pushes the limits of human capabilities, and the fact that bats are one of the wild animals that could be the source of Covid-19 (coronavirus).
Bats carry a large number of coronaviruses, and can spread the pathogens to other animals through their droppings, but rarely get sick themselves. The scientific theory is that bats' adaption for flight has made them better at repairing DNA damage.
"Bats belong to mammal species the same as human beings, with diverse varieties and long life that make for the ideal host of coronavirus," said Sun Dayong.
"Their body temperature can rise up to 40 degrees Celsius when flying due to accelerated metabolism and fall back to normal when taking a rest. Such change of body temperature enables them to carry the virus while curbing its spread in the body."
It currently isn't known how the coronavirus made the jump from bats to humans, or if it definitely came from the flying mammals and not other species such as snakes or pangolins.
In humans, coronavirus affects the lungs and causes a fever. It can lead to fatal complications including pneumonia.
Many people have been using face masks to to try and protect themselves from coronavirus, although it is not yet certain if it is transmitted by cough droplets.
Current official medical advice is to wash your hands often and stay away from people who are sick. Over 2,700 people have died from the flu-like illness, most of them in China where the outbreak started.
Chinese officials have already adopted a wide range of technology to help fight the spread of the virus, including using drones to enforce lockdowns in residential areas.
The virus has spread around the world, with South Korea, Iran and Italy the worst affected countries. Global travel and supply disruption has had a knock-on effect, with major design fairs including Salone del Mobile in Milan postponed.