Germs are probably the last thing one would want to bring home after an overseas vacation. Fortunately, a teenager from Vancouver has proposed a solution that can potentially stop bugs in their tracks inside a plane.
By changing the way air moves around a plane through a new miniature fan that allows each passenger a “personalized breathing zone”, 17-year-old Raymond Wang created a way to disrupt the movements of disease-causing germs. Dubbed as the Global Inlet Director, the device keeps air in a restricted amount of space, protecting passengers from harmful bugs, according to the Daily Mail.
After carefully studying common air circulation systems in planes, the teenager found that the majority of the air is shared between passengers three times before it even reaches the air filtration systems. Such systems allow bugs to be passed between passengers before reaching the filters.
“We have this mixing airflow pattern, so if someone were to actually sneeze, that air would get swirled around multiple times before it even has a chance to go out through the filter,” he explained in a recent TED talk about his invention.Here’s what happens when a passenger sneezes in a traditionally ventilated cabin. Particles spread to the passengers around them. This is what happens when a passenger sneezes where Wang’s device has been implemented in the cabin. Contaminated particles are pushed down and away from the other passengers.
With Wang’s new fan system, the spread of common viruses like the cold as well as the more serious airborne diseases like SARS and bird flu can be reduced, if not prevented. Wang also pointed out in his talk that two highly contagious viruses have spread via planes, with the H1N1 flu virus spreading it to 17 passengers and SARS infecting 22 travelers.
“In the past, the Sars epidemic actually cost the world about $40billion and in the future, a big disease outbreak could actually cost the world in excess of $3 trillion.”
Describing his invention, he said: “With this, we’re able to reduce pathogen transmission by about 55 times, and increase fresh-air inhalation by about 190 per cent.”
Designed to be installed in planes for under $1,000, the device sends air particles that contain bacteria or viruses out of circulation. In a video demonstration, the device is shown keeping passengers away from harmful bugs.
Top Image: Den Haag