New Trick Pony: Open IP for Covid-19

Brian Michael Coyle creates products, usually patented for commerce.
But Covid-19 demands innovation for all.

Honey, We Shrunk-Wrapped the Kids!

American children live in houses with twice the space of other countries, on average. They ride in larger cars, for longer times. Now they may have to sit at a single small desk all day, even for lunch. Don’t hold your breath, though as a teacher may want to.

Some suggest plexiglas or plastic partitions attached to desks. Plexiglas orders are deliverable in 2021. Flimsy plastic is irrelevant. Teens slouch and fidget. Many are big.

Aerosols evaporate, and room currents rise from warm bodies. All of which means the farther the barrier is from the virus source, the bigger it must be. A mask works, but how many will wear one all day? How many will wear one when they speak, eat, or drink?

A large barrier for each student allows active children to keep others safe. Visually it assures parents that the school provides safety. It’s a constant reminder to students of the situation.

This basic form, with 2x3s and plastic wrap, can be made by almost anyone for under $15. Or it can be made with aluminum, to go around any size table.

Undercover Bubble Sterilizer.

Some restaurants want to use plastic bubbles for outdoor customers, and maybe indoors too. There’s a problem.

A bubble interior must be sterilized between customers. SARs CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, is transmitted by aerosols. If aerosols evaporate, they tend to float around, rather than adhere to a surface. That means wiping surfaces may not be sufficient.

Airborne virus are inactivated (since virus aren’t living, they aren’t killed) by UV light. It works by line-of-sight. A spherical bubble is ideal, given a UV light that hangs from the center.

UV is dangerous to look at. CDC will not recommend its use to homeowners. Too many people can’t follow rules, and could be harmed if they forget the UV is not a regular light.

The solution is to have an opaque cover for the bubble, that falls over it and can be quickly rolled and stuffed above. It could be raised with lines, rollers, and a pulley system. But for immediate use, to make it easy to put together and use, this isn’t necessary.

Mask on a Stick.

Restaurant customers behave badly. Masks don’t work when drinking and eating. Constantly strapping a mask on and off is annoying.

People go to masked parties, and have no trouble holding up their mask on a stick. Do it for eating.

Offer disposable masks. Next to utensils on the table.

Formal or casual.

The Greenhouse Effect: Outdoor Education

Reasonable people can disagree about best ways to reopen schools. But in the US, we must err on the side of caution, because of lack of government leadership. Germany and South Korea can reopen schools because they have fast free testing, and can trace transmission. Not in the USA, and we’re forced to behave accordingly.

Working with the assumption that virus may remain airborne for more than a few minutes, separating children six feet, even outdoors, may be insufficient. Wind will probably eliminate the problem, but not every hour of every day has wind.

Two options.


1) Set up multiple fans, maybe one per student. That may cost $300 for 12 outdoor students, plus extension lines. It won’t be quiet.


2) The other option is to set up plastic shields between outdoor students, so that exhaled particles are limited in spread. These would also cost about $300, for materials. Plastic vinyl or heavy plastic is still available, plexiglas isn’t.


Finally, in California September is dry, and usually October. November onwards isn’t. Any solution then will need a cover for the students. One option is student greenhouses.

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