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Safe Shared Space

Analogous to Laminar Flow Hoods in labs, filtered and conditioned air could be directed to protect individuals in shared business spaces.

Photo of Robert Smith
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CHALLENGE

Business people in creative and closely coordinated endeavors benefit from collaborating in person, where shared energy and immediate feedback support the spontaneous ignition, refinement and sharing of ideas. These types of interactions are more difficult to achieve through remote participation such as video-conferences, calls or written communications.


BACKGROUND

Vertical and horizontal Laminar Flow Hoods pump filtered air across items of interest and then out through exhaust ports producing aseptic conditions. Typically used in laboratory settings, these devices may be designed to either:

  • Protect operators from harmful substances, or
  • Protect sensitive substances from operators


IDEA

By positioning fans and HEPA filters above or behind individuals engaged in collaborative business activities such as: brainstorming at white boards or meeting around a conference table, and providing exhaust locations either near the floor or the center of the table, potentially harmful respiratory pathogens might be directed away from other participants.

What is the need are you focusing on?

Businesses would benefit from a physical setup that allows multiple individuals to meet safely within on-site shared spaces.

Which type of submission are you sharing?

  • Sharing a pivot idea your organization is considering or could consider

Describe the business pivot or adaptation in 3-4 sentences.

This idea would require the engineering and design, fabrication, installation and evaluation/certification of two types of airflow-management systems that would replace standard white boards and conference tables in shared business spaces. 1. Integrated system providing a vertical flow of conditioned and filtered air through the space in front of a white board and exhausting at the floor to protect individuals working at the board. 2. Integrated conference room system providing a horizontal flow of conditioned and filtered air from outside the perimeter of a conference table, past the individual participants seated there, and exhausting down through a port near the center of the table. Each of these installed systems work to protect all participants from any potential airborne pathogens.

Do you plan to implement this solution?

  • I plan to share with an implementing organization

Describe the impact that this solution will create in the world.

Business people in creative and closely coordinated endeavors benefit from collaborating in person, where shared energy and immediate feedback support the spontaneous ignition, refinement and sharing of ideas. Since these types of interactions are more difficult to achieve through remote participation such as video-conferences, calls or written communications, these Safe Shared Space systems are envisioned as semi-permanent physical installations in business spaces all around the world where small groups need to meet to accomplish their work.

What is the name of your business or organization?

N/A

What does your business/company do? Whose needs does your business/company address? Who do you serve?

Product, system and service design.

What is your profession?

Industrial design, engineering, and human factors

Where are you located (country)?

United States

Where are you located (region)?

  • North America

What industry is your business/company in?

  • Business/Consulting
  • Designer(UX/CX/Design Research)

How many people does your business/company employ?

  • 0-10

How old is your business/company?

  • Less than 1 year old

Which classification describes your organization/business?

  • Concept/I have not yet formed an organization

What kind of stakeholders and partnerships are needed to pursue this solution?

  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Private Sector

Do you need help building partnerships and finding partners?

  • Yes

If Yes to the above, please share 1-2 sentences describing the specific help you desire.

HVAC engineering and design to develop the system mechanics and control. Fabricators to provide components (prototyping and production). Evaluation/test facilitators, certification professionals and equipment.

What do you think are the main barriers to implementing this solution?

1. Cost to replace or modify existing furniture and install electro-mechanical systems. 2. Concern that noise generated by system may interfere with conversation. 3. Establishing trust among individuals targeted to use the space that it is safe and effective. 4. Volume of space required to house system may be prohibitive in small meeting locations.

If you are currently working on a pivot, what have you learned so far?

Many businesses may feel like their work activities would not benefit significantly from a Safe Shared Space system, and so will continue to meet on-line.

Are you aware of any open source efforts, hackathons or other collaborative efforts related to your solution? Are you participating in these efforts?

Not aware of any at this time.

Website URL

N/A

2 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Spam
Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Excited to see you on the challenge Robert Smith ! I like how you are thinking about re-imagining spaces so as to still allow for shared space interactions and connection especially between people. I'm curios your thoughts around if you see this as a long-term pivot beyond the current situation and how it can be adaptable in designing future spaces.

Spam
Photo of Robert Smith
Team

Hi Isaac Jumba ,

Nice to hear from you, I hope you and yours are all well!

I believe that we will likely be dealing with this pandemic, and people's concerns around it, for several months if not years. With that kind of future ahead of us, I am anxious to contribute to solutions that will allow people to gather together and collaborate over that time period, at least in small numbers, with little fear of spreading or catching contagions.

These kind of Safe Shared Space systems can be envisioned as both original equipment and as retrofit installations. As original equipment, the bulk of the system (air handlers, ducting, and conditioners) could be built into walls, attic space, and space dividers. Stand-alone retrofit systems will likely need aesthetic/protective enclosures.

Thanks for the comment! -Bob