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article imageEbola-proof Android tablet helps aid workers in West Africa

By James Walker     Mar 21, 2015 in Technology
Google has developed an Ebola-proof tablet for use by health workers in Sierra Leone. It can resist the storms and high humidity of West Africa and can be dipped into antibacterial chlorine after use.
It was designed after a Medecins Sans Frontieres doctor working in an Ebola treatment centre informed a colleague in London that he was having to shout patient details over a fence from inside the containment zone. Patient details could not be written on a piece of paper and given to the outside in case the paper became contaminated.
Ivan Gayton, MSF technology adviser, said: "It was error prone, exhausting and it wasted five or 10 minutes of the hour medics can spend fully dressed inside the protective zone before they collapse from heat exhaustion.”
The team approached several technology companies to try to find a resolution. Eventually, Google's Crisis Response Team assigned five engineers to design the Android tablet. Eight devices have now been distributed to medics.
The tablet is based around a waterproof Sony Xperia housed inside a specially developed protective casing. It is preloaded with apps that allow medics to safely share patient records and track their symptoms over time. It will also be able to map symptom patterns to predict where Ebola outbreaks could occur.
The sharp edges of the tablet have been removed to eliminate the risk of it inadvertently piercing the protective clothing of the health workers. The polycarbonate body of the device can withstand being soaked with chlorine so that it can be disinfected and taken outside the care facility.
The touchscreen display can be operated even while wearing the large gloves of health workers. The tablet will never need to be removed from its housing as support for wireless charging through its protective housing eliminates the need to plug it in each day.
Google is working to open-source the unique product so that other developers can work on it too. The company thinks it could be used in the same way in outbreaks of other deadly diseases, allowing for the quick and easy storage of invaluable data on patients and symptoms.
More about Google, Ebola, Tablet, Android, Protection
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