PSU researchers invent devices to decrease COVID-19 workload in hospitals


           Prince of Songkla University’s research teams jointly invented and developed automatic hand gel dispensers to help medical staff during the Covid-19 epidemic situation in Thailand. Songklanagarind Hospital and PSU’s Faculty of Medicine are ready to handle the emerging challenges by providing a variety of prevention measures, including adequate preparation to receive patients, assistance to medical staff at risk of infection, careful resource management, and prevention of the spread of infection to hospitalized patients.

            PSU President Asst. Prof. Dr. Niwat Keawpradub reassured the public that Prince of Songkla University is aware of the extent of the problem and will fully devote PSU’s expertise in public health services to develop research and innovation to find appropriate solutions, in collaboration with nearby hospitals.

            Vice President for Research and Innovation Asst. Prof. Sunton Wongsiri, M.D., further elaborated on the implementation of innovative research development that focuses on practical utility in order to meet society’s most pressing needs, problems and challenges, a philosophy that corresponds to the Prince of Songkla University identity "Explore - Commit - Discover". The vice president explained that the innovative devices were developed in a relatively short time span, which was possible only due the highly committed cooperation between researchers from various faculties, all with relevant expertise in their chosen field. The cooperation continues to jointly develop further innovations to help the people and the country to pass this crisis together.

            The Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Puttisak Puttawibul, M.D., pointed out the importance of integrated and collaborative work in the current situation, explaining that the Faculty of Medicine requested cooperation from Faculty of Science, Faculty of Engineering, and their own Institute of Biomedical Engineering, to jointly invent and develop various devices to support the medical staff at Songklanagarind Hospital, by reducing their contact with patients and service receivers. The dean noted that each collaborating partner has made significant contributions to the production of various devices and is pleased with the outcome.

            Some models of the newly developed Automatic Hand Gel Dispenser will record the number of users or times used, will indicate with a flashing light the time when the alcohol gel needs to be refilled, and is able to use alcohol in many different types of containers. The device can be used in places without an electrical outlet, because the team has designed a backup power supply. In the next phase of development, the device will be able to send notification messages online, and user image data will be recorded via camera. Currently, two such devices are in operation at the designated screening points, while one is used at the ARI Clinic of Songklanagarind Hospital. Initially, the team will produce five devices for Songklanagarind Hospital, and plans to produce more for other hospitals in the region, such as Hat Yai Hospital and Friendship Unity Hospital in Songkhla province.



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