ID Student Uses Einstein-Designed Refrigeration to Deliver Vaccines Better
While you were busy doodling hover cars and sharpening your Wacom stylus, William Broadway developed a final year project that might save millions of lives. Annually. His project, the ISOBAR, aims to help temperature stabilize vaccines for safer delivery in regions with hot climates or barriers to delivery. The cold heart of his project relies on a two-phase ammonia-water absorption design drafted by Albert Einstein (yes that one) as part of an electricity free refrigeration system. Shrunk down and aimed at vulnerable populations, it's garnered him a national James Dyson Award.
The viability of delicate supplies like vaccines relies on both timely delivery and mitigating the impact of environmental factors—factors that become increasingly volatile in regions with fewer infrastructural resources. Broadway spent time in several developing countries before starting on his ID degree program, witnessing firsthand the large number of vaccines lost to temperature instability in the proverbial "last mile" of their journey. This loss is compounded by the need to use cheap transportation options, which (like ice packs) can themselves endanger the viability of the vaccines.
ISOBAR holds materials at a steady temperature (between 35-47 degrees F.) for up to 6 days when kept in its insulated bag. The pod's chemical cooling can then be "recharged" with propane or electricity, and flipped to reactivate the chemical reaction.
Saving vaccines from going bad isn't just an economic efficiency issue. Lack of access to vaccines affects up to 19.4 million kids annually, and according to the World Health Organization this type of tech could save up to 1.5 million lives each year. As William himself noted after working with a medical device consultancy, traditional market pricing keeps even simple medical technology from reaching vulnerable populations.
Broadway has now graduated from Loughborough University, and is intent on keeping the design patent-free and getting it out into the world. As he put it in an interview with Newsbeat, "I make things every day for people who have everything...I wanted to make something for people who have next to nothing. It should be a basic human right, in my opinion, to have a vaccination."
Kudos to William on the attention his cool pod is getting, and good luck in the next round of Dyson finalists.