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Ernakulam: ‘LINI Pod’ to keep frontline health workers safe from Covid infection | Kochi News

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KOCHI: At a time when the increased use of personal protective equipment (PPE) kits due to the pandemic is contributing significantly to the existing plastic menace, two newly-graduated engineers in Ernakulam are proposing an alternative method to keep frontline health workers safe from Covid-19 in the line of duty.
Anurag P A and Sanoob M, who graduated as mechanical engineers from the Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat) in 2021, have designed a manoeuvrable transport pod called ‘LINI Pod’ for doctors and nurses giving them the option to get rid of PPE kits while on duty.
It has been named in memory of Lini Puthussery, the nurse who died battling Nipah virus. She had contracted the virus while treating a patient in 2018.
From within the safety and comfort of the enclosed pod, which has wheels under it and is powered by an electrical motor, health workers can easily manoeuvre in the hospital and interact with Covid patients or suspects without making direct contact with them.
LINI Pod has already been selected as one among the Top 20 Innovations in the Innovations Unlocked: Student Innovators Meet 2020 organized by Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) and it is now eligible for Covid response grant worth Rs 1.4 lakh under the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) scheme operated by Cusat Technology Business Incubator (TBI) of Cusatech Foundation.
The young engineers are now working on developing the prototype of the pod at the earliest.
“The idea came up last year when the pandemic became severe and KSUM decided to invite innovative suggestions from students to fight the pandemic. Due to the surge in pandemic, doctors and nurses need to work hard and they get exhausted by working in PPE kits for long hours. Even with PPE kits, many doctors and nurses are affected by Covid. Our intention is to boost the confidence of health workers by providing a much better utility and safe equipment to fight Covid,” said Anurag, a native of Edakochi.
The movement of the pod can be controlled by the person from inside using joysticks or pedal. Doctors can tend to the patients lying on beds as the pod has the option of bending or leaning forward without compromising the safety. Air circulation is ensured within the pod with dedicated air filter and it also has the option to install air conditioner or oxygen cylinder. A stethoscope can be installed on the pod.
“Doctors can move around anywhere in the Covid wards at maximum safety and take breaks without the fuss of removing and re-donning PPE kits. Unlike PPE kits, the pod can be reused after sanitization. We have registered as a startup named Black Owl Technologies and are looking for sponsors to fund the project so that we can complete the prototype with some advanced modifications,” Anurag said.

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