As the number of COVID-19 cases rises rapidly, several make-shift hospitals have been set up across the country to treat patients. However, these centres may be in remote areas, uneven terrains, and some may not have proper roads or pathways leading to them.
Researchers at the Industrial Training Institute (ITI) of Berhampur, have come up with an innovative solution that will help hospital staff and attenders move oxygen cylinders with ease.
“Last week, one such facility was set up at the ITI campus. Here, I noticed that labourers bringing oxygen cylinders refused to unload them inside the premises, owing to the fear of transmission of the virus. Once they were left at the entrance, the heavy cylinders were carried in by a few hospital staff members with help from families attending to their loved ones,” says Professor Rajat Kumar Panigrahi, the principal of the institute, adding that this is a time-consuming process which could delay treatment for critical patients.
Along with a team of five members, within a few days, he was able to design a trolley-like device to move the cylinders. While one demo model is being used at the make-shift hospital at the institute, five more are being fabricated for use in COVID-care hospitals across the city.
About the trolley
The trolley, which is 2.7 ft tall, can support over 160 kilograms of weight, and navigate through uneven terrain.
“Since many COVID-19 hospitals have been set up in remote areas, there may not be smooth tiling. Instead, there may be a cement or mud floor. So, to ensure the trolley can move over any surface, we fit wheels used in scooters. This allows the trolley to carry heavy items and navigate with ease,” says Rajat.
The trolley has been designed using steel that is welded together. The wheels are attached using nuts and bolts, which can be procured at any mechanic garage.
“A metal chain has also been fit to hold the cylinder in place on the trolley. This ensures that it does not topple over while moving,” says Rajat, adding that it cost the team up to Rs 4,200 to design this machine.
However, he also says that the cost will be lower, depending on the kind of raw materials used.
With such devices being the need of the hour, Professor Rajat is willing to share the designs and the technical process with fabricators, welders, or any individual who can replicate the design.
“I hope the device will be manufactured in various cities and distributed to hospitals so that labour, time, and lives can be saved,” says Rajat.
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