03 Sep 2012
A young inventor who set about creating more hygienic hospital furniture after being refused access to his sick grandfather because of the risk of spreading infection is in the running for a major award.
Paddy Mulcahy, 21, is competing for the 2012 James Dyson Award and has been offered university support to bring his easy-clean U-neat unit to market.
The all-in-one bedside table, locker and chairs is cornerless and so mitigates against the build-up of bacteria – meaning it could drastically lower the likelihood of infections being spread.
“The existing furniture is a breeding ground for bacteria,” Mr Mulcahy said.
“Too often people admitted to hospitals contract further serious illnesses. Going to hospital shouldn’t mean putting your health at greater risk.”
U-neat won the Irish leg of the 2012 Dyson Awards and will now go head-to-head with inventions from 18 other nations in a bid to scoop the international young inventor’s prize.
Over 70% of the spread of infections in hospitals is attributable to surface-to-person transfer of bacteria, according to Mr Mulcahy’s research.
While most most hospitals use cheap chip board units which are difficult to clean and have a short lifespan, U-neat units, made from Lego-style plastic,should cost around 200 euro once large-scale manufacturing begins.