UPN Hospital Locker Design Receives Global Recognition

A smart locker that cleans hospital staff uniforms, designed by Universidad Privada del Norte (UPN) students in Peru has been highly commended at the Global Grad Show during Dubai Design Week. The Show is the most internationally recognized design event for innovative social impact proposals from university students and graduate designers around the world.

This year, designs submitted to the Show addressed solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic and were reviewed by a jury of experts in innovation, technology and new ventures who looked for projects that could create a direct impact, with the intention to progress the ideas into reality as rapidly as possible.

The ‘Steam Nurse’ locker disinfects hospital uniforms using chemicals and ultraviolet light, therefore reducing the risk of cross-contamination in uniforms and the personal clothing of frontline healthcare professionals.

The locker contains two sections. The upper portion stores personal clothing and belongings, which are fully enclosed and can be transported like a suitcase, while the lower section stores the uniforms and is where the cleaning process takes place.

The UPN students (Lucia Pejerrey Florian, Jessica Porras Real, Jose Paredes Alarcón and Deivid Yabar Gamarra) developed the electronic locker with their Professor, Ruth Manzanares. They saw the opportunity for their study of design to address the probability of cross-contamination, after seeing an interview with Italian and Peruvian doctors who said they felt exposed to the contagion following contact with COVID-19 patients.

“A nurse attends, on average, seven to eight patients; however, in Peru, a nurse can care for around 36 patients. Their risk is then high, and we need to help and protect them,” Ruth Manzanares said.

The Steam Nurse project was one of the top designs among almost 400 entries that were submitted to the Global Grad Show from representatives at 125 universities in 40 countries. The product was featured in an interview with CNN where the students explained their project and its social impact purpose.

“A great initiative with a lot of potential for expansion,” is how the Director of the Global Grad Show, Brendan McGetrick, described the UPN team’s proposal.

This isn’t the first social impact project by the UPN students. Industrial design students, Lucia, Jessica and Jose have designed a range of human-centered products, while Deivid, a mechatronic engineering student, has developed a robot to reduce beach pollution, and an electronic cane for blind people.

We congratulate Lucia, Jessica, Jose, Deivid and Ruth for using their design talents to respond to society’s growing social challenges. They truly demonstrate what it means to be a Laureate Hero.