An invention by a Limerick student which seeks to minimise the spread infections in hospitals has won the Irish leg of the 2012 James Dyson award.
Paddy Mulcahy, a 21-year-old UL student, designed U-neat, a hospital bed table and locker, which is easily sanitised because of its seam-free, filleted surfaces, which eliminate corners for bacteria to build.
The table rotates 360 degrees while the drawers can fully removed for easy access to allow the unit to be cleaned inside and provides seating for visitors, which helps to create a controlled environment for seat allocation.
Mr Mulcahy began conducting on-site research into Health Care Associated Infections in hospitals last year, consulting with medical staff and interviewing patients. His research showed that over 70 per cent of the spread of infections in hospitals was due to surface-to-person transfer of bacteria.
Having built various functional prototypes of the design he then sourced a hospital bed in order to accurately test these prototypes with different users.