The Excubator Project (20141119)

Hazmat suits for Ebola are safe if used well, but apparently quite inconvenient: time-consuming, hot, not always available, etc.

So I thought of an inverse incubator: a box with gloves sticking out.

Some other elements emerged quickly: a window, a back-door, handles to move the box to the bedside, maybe an apron-pocket for supplies, and of course some protection for the feet, and quite possibly an air filter.

Friends suggested wheels, a spiral slide for supplies, a cylindric shape, or turning it into a wall screwed to the side of the bed.

So here's one of the first images of the thing, posted on twitter;

I asked for a refrigerator box, and found I could move it around and cut windows in it. Here's the very first video:

I felt slightly silly, but not enough to stop me, when I asked for barbie dolls to make a 1/6 scale prototype, and later when I placed the (8 minute) video on the internet:

Another refrigerator box, which I took to the local hackerspace, and there a friend grabbed the cutter and showed me what they mean by "fast prototyping". In less than two hours, we had this (1 minute) video:


(Yes: it looks like we've found a way to increase visibility and motion range. I thought it for the face. Sergio did it for the whole upper body. It seems to work!)

We still need to do proper sleeves and gloves, protect the bottom, add an air filter at the top. And we will. Shortly.

But I feel it's mature enough to take some heat from the internet:
  • What's wrong and what can be improved?
  • Who has the expertise we evidently lack?
  • Should we just kill the project, as it's obviously worthless and even potentially harmful if people think it's safe and it isn't?
Even if this particular idea doesn't work, the problem is still the same:

WHO tells us "High-quality supportive care is thought to have contributed to the larger number of survivors. However, two limitations compromised the quality of bedside care: staff were too few in number; and the duration of time spent providing care at the bedside was too little, due to dehydration and over-heating of clinicians wearing personal protective equipment."

Could the excubator - or something better - help? What next?

FWIW, in parallel with the prototype, I've drafted two wikipages over at appropedia: