From nurses and doctors to technicians, paramedics and EMTs, medical professionals are the heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic. As they face daily risks of transmission, these frontline healthcare workers are at even greater danger due to a global shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). While drive-in testing centres have emerged as an effective way to limit point-of-contact exposure, CannonDesign‘s Albert Rhee has unveiled a concept design for a walk-in testing booth that limits personal contact while catering to those without vehicles.
Developed in collaboration with mechanical engineer Raymond Shultz, Rhee’s walk-in booth concept combines a mobile and easy-to-assemble modular design with an interior layout that eliminates direct contact between care provider and patient, thereby reducing the need for extensive PPE. Informed by the “telephone booth” testing facilities already in place throughout South Korea and around the world – which are mostly single-user designs – CannonDesign’s scheme is scaled up to create a larger facility capable of processing tests faster and more efficiently.
The multi-booth design is well-suited to densely populated urban communities where many residents don’t have a vehicle, and it accommodates alternating patient flow – with one booth undergoing a 10-minute disinfection process while the other is used for testing. Renderings depict a variety of configurations, with two, four or eight booths combined into a single facility.
“We developed a drawing set for the modular system to establish a universal basis of design for broad-scale production and implementation,” says Rhee. “The booth system can be deployed on virtually any flat outdoor surface and be powered by a single household electrical outlet.”
For Rhee, who is married to a Chicago-based nurse, it’s a design informed by direct experience. “This is a challenge that is very personal to me,” Rhee explains. “Healthcare workers are extremely concerned about their personal safety and the safety of their families. The current strain on PPE supplies adds enormous stress on an already difficult situation.”
Well-suited to cities, the testing booth concept aims to reduce the need for extensive – and scarce – PPE.