Mask DIY sanitization device on the left, mask used as an example on the right. The device is a Tupperware-like plastic container, on top, a small motor plus battery device with an alligator clip attached to the motor. Mask is inserted into the container through the opening on top, hooked to the motor, and the motor then spins the mask inside the container where hydrogen peroxide vapor is being misted.

Mask Sanitization That Anyone Can Build

We’ve seen a wide variety of mask sanitization solutions, and now, [spiritplumber] from [Robots Everywhere] brings us a frugal and ingenious design – one that you barely even need tools for. This project might look rough around the edges but looks were never a prerequisite, and as a hacker worth their salt will recognize – this is an answer to “how to design a mask disinfector that anyone can build”.

Local shortages of masks have been threatening communities here and there, doubly so if you need a specific kind of mask that might be out of stock. This design could apply to a whole lot of other things where sterilization is desired, too – improving upon concepts, after all, is our favourite pastime.

The design is simple – a battery-powered motor rotating a mask inside a vat of concentrated H2O2, turned into mist by a cheap ultrasonic misting gadget. As the “turntable” rotates a your PPE of choice, making sure that every crevice is graced with cleaning touch of peroxide, it also causes the H2O2 mist to circulate. Fulfilling most important requirements for a proper sanitization system that more complex devices have been struggling with, this approach has certainly earned its place under the sun.

[Robots Everywhere] have shared a small library of their DIY PPE resources with all of us, and that’s not all they work on – recently, we’ve seen their aeroponics project rejuvenating garlic.

Using hydrogen peroxide vapour for PPE sanitization is a well-tested approach by now, as we’ve seen it deployed back in 2020 on a larger scale as part of an FDA-approved design. And if you only have 3% peroxide at hand, might as well try concentrating it further!

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Automating The Disinfection Of Large Spaces With Robots

What do you do when you have to disinfect an entire warehouse? You could send a group of people through the place with UV-C lamps, but that would take a long time as said humans cannot be in the same area as the UV-C radiation, as much as they may like the smell of BBQ chicken. Constantly repositioning the lamps or installing countless lamps would get in the way during normal operation. The answer is to strap UV-C lights to a robot according to MIT’s CSAIL, and have it ride around the space.

As can be seen in the video (also embedded after the break), a CSAIL group has been working with telepresence robotics company Ava Robotics and the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB). Their goal was to create a robotic system that could autonomously disinfect a GBFB warehouse using UV-C without exposing any humans to the harmful radiation. While the robotics can be controlled remotely, they can also map the space and navigate between waypoints.

While testing the system, the team used a UV-C dosimeter to confirm the effectiveness of this setup. With the robot driving along at a leisurely 0.22 miles per hour (~0.35 kilometer per hour), it was able to cover approximately 4,000 square feet (~372 square meter) in about half an hour. They estimated that about 90% of viruses like SARS-CoV-2 could be neutralized this way.

During trial runs, they discovered the need to have the robot adapt to the constantly changing layout of the warehouse, including which aisles require which UV-C depending on how full they are. Having multiple of these robots in the same space coordinate with each other would also be a useful feature addition.

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