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Solar Powered Sterilizer

We all know that the sun generates massive amounts of heat, but who knew that it could be used as a sterilizer for medical equipment?

In third-world countries, doctors don’t always have access to clean equipment, which means that patients put under the knife may come out of the procedure with infections and other diseases.

Researchers at MIT’s science lab created a solution for this global problem, and it involves using natural elements as a sterilizer. This machine is called an autoclave, and it blasts medical equipment with 250-degree steam under pressure. Hospitals in the U.S. and other developed countries use sophisticated machinery for their sterilization, however, this autoclave is not only affordable, but easy to build as well.

All that’s needed is a pressure cooker, small mirrors, and buckets.

When put together, the autoclave blasts dirty equipment with concentrated solar rays and produce bacteria-killing conditions in just over an hour. It’s a simple solution that will undoubtedly save many lives across the globe.

Greg Tao and Hallie Sue Cho, the two MIT graduates who designed the initial autoclave, came up with their inspiration after interning at a medical supplies manufacturer. Tao realized that there aren’t really enough incentives for medical tech companies to create innovative solutions for the developing world. Upon seeing that very few companies actually cater to hospitals in developing nations, Tao went to work on his own invention.

Tao connected with Cho, and together they entered their autoclave in the 2011 MIT IDEAS Global Challenge, and won the opportunity to test their invention in 15 different rural locations. Depending on how well the experiment works, their solution may be adopted by larger medical tech companies, since their autoclave version only costs around $100 to manufacture.

This eco-friendly cleaner is a great example of how nature and technology can co-exist in many various formats. It’s also much more affordable to rural hospitals than its technologically developed and electric-powered big brother.

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