Student devises a better way to sterilize face masks

Badar Kayani working on his machine, SUDS, in CWRU's think[box] this summer.

Let me introduce you to Badar Kayani. He is a senior electrical engineering student and doing some remarkable and incredibly timely work in Case Western Reserve’s think[box] innovation center right now that is going to help health care workers save lives and keep themselves healthy. 

N95 masks are the gold standard for hospital workers on the frontlines of COVID-19, but they can be hard to come by, especially in rural areas. And the sterilization systems that currently allow hospital workers to re-use these hard-to-come-by masks can take up to an hour to decontaminate them. 

That’s where Badar and his team at think[box] come in. 

The machine he’s working on here was designed and built as a partnership between researchers at Cleveland Clinic and think[box] this summer. It’s called SUDS (short for Synchronous UV-C Decontamination System), and it will decontaminate an N95 mask in under one minute. 

So, when a nurse or a doctor exits a patient’s room, they can throw their mask in, and it will be clean by the time they take off their gown and gloves, wash their hands and are ready to see their next patient. The team is in the process of commercializing and getting SUDS machines into hospitals now. 

Watch the video.

Badar will graduate this spring and complete his master’s at CWRU. After that, he plans to start his own engineering design company as well as a public-access makerspace in his native Pakistan.

Great. 👏 Work. 👏 Badar. 👏