Community asked to submit innovative proposals for safe testing of the coronavirus

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Community asked to submit innovative proposals for safe testing of the coronavirus

UA Tech Parks
April 1, 2020

March 27, 2020

Community asked to submit innovation proposals for safe testing of the coronavirus

The Regional Partnering Center, in collaboration with University of Arizona Innovation Center (UACI), announces an Innovation Challenge to the community at large to design an innovative outdoor medical consultation and testing booth for hospitals to safely triage patients for the coronavirus (COVID-19) and conserve scarce Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

In South Korea, for example, a hospital has introduced phone booth-style coronavirus testing facilities that allow medical staff to quickly examine patients safely from behind a plastic panel, according to the South China Morning Post. Each patient steps up to the booth for a rapid consultation by intercom with a medical professional on the other side of the panel. The medical professional, if necessary, collects test samples by swabbing the patient's nose and throat through arm-length rubber gloves built into the panel. The rubber gloves are disinfected, and the booth is ventilated after each use.

Proposals that address how the teams will develop plans, specifications and a plan to develop an operational manual for safe infectious disease testing booths are due to the RPC by 5 p.m. on April 3, 2020. Proposals should be no more than two pages and include an executive summary, a list of the primary team members and the team's capacity to meet the challenge. Proposals may be submitted via email to

Proposals will be reviewed by project partners and experts in the industrial, mechanical and/or engineering fields. The RPC will provide the winner with funding that would help cover the cost of preparing the plans, specifications and an operational manual. The work product that results from the winning proposal will be made publicly available.

The goal is to quickly design an outdoor testing facility that makes it significantly easier to disinfect the area potentially exposed to the coronavirus. The design should incorporate differential air pressure to help make the space safer for healthcare providers and medical professionals.

Each booth may accept more than one patient at a time, as long as patients are spaced out and screened apart from each other. All three sides of the booth may be used for testing while the fourth side should be reserved for access by medical professionals.

The Regional Partnering Center (RPC) advances policies, practices and solutions to regional planning, environmental and energy challenges in Pima County through research and educational outreach with the goal of developing programs for their solution or management. RPC is a 501(c)(3) managed by Pima Association of Governments, the region's metropolitan planning organization.

UA Center for Innovation (UACI) is a key component of Tech Parks Arizona, which brings together University, industry and community, creating to advance technology innovation. UACI is the University of Arizona’s startup incubator network with outposts across the Southern Arizona region with a mission to grow scalable startup ventures that fuel the Arizona economy.

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