Inflatable Hospital Isolation Wards

The continued spread of Covid-19 has resulted in a worldwide shortage of hospital beds. A temporary hospital isolation ward (translated) was co-developed by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and the Korea Institute of Radiological and Medical Sciences (KIRAMS) to help alleviate this problem. We’re not familiar with the logistics and expense of installing traditional temporary hospital facilities, but the figures provided for this inflatable building approach to the problem seem impressive. It takes 14 days to produce one module, a process which presumably could be pipelined. Being 70% lighter and smaller than their rigidly-constructed counterparts, they can be more easily stored and shipped where needed, even by air.

Once on-site, it takes one day to inflate and outfit it with utilities such as electricity, water, and communications. One of these modules, which look like really big inflatable Quonset huts, contains an intensive care unit, four negative-pressure rooms, a nursing station, staff area, changing and bathrooms, and storage. All this in a 450 m2 building 30 m long and 15 m wide. That works out to be almost 2-stories tall, which is confirmed by the photo above.

Now that the design is finished and a functional unit constructed, the goal is to put it into production as soon as possible. Of course, physical hospital facilities are not the only thing in short supply these days — doctors, nursing and support staff, medical supplies, not to mention the vaccinations themselves, are all needed. But hopefully the success of this project can contribute to the global effort of saving lives and getting control of the virus sooner rather than later. The video below is in Korean, but the automatic English subtitles aren’t too bad.

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Building An Industrial Control Unit With An Industrial Control Unit

Back in the 70s, industrial control was done with either relays and ladder logic or new programmable logic controllers. These devices turned switches on and off, moved stuff around a factory, and kept the entire operation running smoothly. In the late 70s, Motorola came out with an Industrial Control Unit stuffed into a tiny chip. The chip – the MC14500 – fascinated [Nicola]. He finally got around to building an ICU out of this chip, and although this was the standard way of doing things 30 years ago, it’s still an interesting build.

[Nicola]’s ICU is extremely simple, just eight relays, eight inputs, the MC14500, a clock, and some ROM. After wiring up the circuit, [Nicola] wrote a compiler, although this chip is so simple manually writing opcodes to a ROM wouldn’t be out of the question.

To demonstrate his ICU, [Nicola] connected up an on/off switch, a start button, and a stop button. The outputs are a yellow, green, and red lamp. It’s a simple task for even a relay-based control scheme, but [Nicola]’s board does everything without a hitch.

If you’re looking for something a little more complex, we saw the MC14500 being used as an almost-CPU last year.

Video below.

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