Six designers from China have created a series of conceptual products that aim to improve public health in the wake of outbreaks like the coronavirus, from an ultraviolet sterilising lamp to a DIY upper body capsule.
Designed in response to the current outbreak of coronavirus disease (covid-19), the series of six product concepts are designed to protect both the user and those around them from the spreading of infection and disease.
The outbreak was first reported in Wuhan, China, and has since spread globally. More than 100,000 cases have been reported in more than 100 countries around the world.
The series is named Create Cures, which can be abbreviated to CC. This is a reference to the common unit of measurement of cubic centimetres that is used in medical treatments – a deliberate choice from the group of designers.
"We believe the coronavirus will be over soon, however, as humans, we have to face more possible challenges of public health in the near future," said Frank Chou, who initiated the Create Cures project.
"As designers, we have to redefine what design is, and what we can do as designers – what we can donate," he continued.
"It will be a long term non-profit project. It is just a beginning, we hope more designers and people in the creative industry, the media and other organisations can join us, to create for the real world."
Read on to see the six design concepts that aim to improve public health:
Sterilising Lamp by Frank Chou
Frank Chou's Sterilising Lamp combines an ultraviolet (UV) light with a tray, and would ideally be kept by the entrance to the user's home for them to put items in such as their mobile phone, keys or wallet as they enter the room.
The user would press the cover body to activate the internal UV light source, the body then lowers to cover the items in the tray with the UV light. After 60 seconds the cover automatically rises to reveal the now-sterilised items again.
Frank Chou aimed to create an "unconscious design" when creating the lamp, which he hopes can blend into the home and become part of people's daily routine, as opposed to a disinfection method that they consciously have to think about doing.
DIY Safe Capsule by Benwu Studio
Benwu Studio's Design for Impact Triplet comprises a cubic "capsule" that people can assemble themselves to use at work while working from their desk and eating.
According to the designer, the materials needed to assemble the DIY Safe Capsule can all be bought from local shops. This includes PVC pipe, plastic sheets, elastic cord, nylon cable ties, a positive pressure fan with a filter, a UV light, an electric socket and duct tape.
The resulting system is designed to create clear air circulation inside the cubic container, intaking and expelling air via the filter, with additional sterilisation provided with the UV light, which can be switched on when the user is absent.
An elastic cuff would be installed at points where the neck and wrists would be inserted for comfort and extra safety.
Maskerchief by Chen Min
Chen Min's Maskerchief is a multifunctional handkerchief that can be folded into a six-layer cotton gauze mask, in case of emergencies as well as its normal function of wiping and covering the nose.
Chen Min proposed the design as a way of providing "more than just masks" when trying to avoid catching illnesses, while also taking into consideration the environmental factors of using disposable products.
The designer sees the handkerchief as a good alternative to tissues, which he believes have dominated in recent years but without any signs of improvement to public hygiene.
Sun Dayong looked to the supposed source of the coronavirus – bats – when designing his solution to the infection spreading. His Be a Bat Man mobile safety device comes in the form of a wearable shield made from carbon fibre and PVC film, modelled on the shape of batwings.
A network of UV wires embedded in the plastic body would heat up the surface, sterilising the environment inside the shield for the wearer. The device is also foldable, making it ready to open automatically when the user needs to enter a public environment.
Buckle Masks by Above studio
Lu Xu and Zihan Zhang – who make up design studio Above – designed the Buckle Masks with a built-in filter that deepens in colour from white to black as it absorbs more bacteria and dust, with black representing the end of the mask's life.
The duo wanted to improve the design of common protective face masks, which are becoming increasingly popular, by tackling two main issues: their life span and their disposal process.
Four stages of this gradual colour change are printed on the edge of the ventilation hole, allowing the user to compare the colour of the built-in filter element to its outer vent edge to determine when the mask should be replaced.
Once the mask has reached the end of its life, the dark outer layer can be removed by pulling on a green tab at the bottom of the mask, before being replaced with another.
Time-Changing Hand Sanitiser by Pino Wang and Frank Chou
This design for Time-Changing Hand Sanitiser by Pino Wang and Frank Chou sees the liquid's colour change as the user rubs it into their hands, in a bid to make the process of thoroughly washing your hands less boring.
The product aims to encourage people to wash their hands for at least 30 seconds by allowing them to "experience a little magic" as the colour changes from pink to purple and finally to blue. This also lets them know when the correct amount of time has been spent on washing.