A Senegalese start-up has developed a smart disinfection gantry that is supposed to be a bulwark against the new coronavirus.By Ibrahima Dione
President Macky Sall, in an effort to salvage what can still be saved, recently asked his compatriots to “learn to live with the virus.”
Such an approach appeals to the individual responsibility of each Senegalese.
In order to get life back to normal, a group of scientists has designed a disinfection gantry called Box Yessal.
“We came up with the idea of creating it with the exponential increase in the number of coronavirus cases […]. We asked ourselves what we could do to help in the fight. In less than a week, we thought about it and realised it,” said Libasse Laye Thiaw, an engineer at Heru Tech.
The budding company, whose leitmotiv is to “bring innovative solutions to solve the specific problems of the population,” is mainly made up of engineers, electronic engineers, computer scientists and chemists.
The gantries are dimensioned on a 3D drawing software before taking shape with an aluminium frame.
The device, the result of a clever mix of specialised skills, is “smart” according to its designers since “as soon as a person shows up, it switches on automatically and diffuses the disinfectant solution.”
In addition, the Yessal Box “has a hand sanitizer dispenser and a camera to take temperatures, Thiaw said adding that “at the same time, the camera checks whether or not the person is wearing a mask”.
Whether it’s a misting or spraying gantry, two options are available to purchasers.
“The individual is touched by droplets of less than one micron for complete disinfection without feeling wet,” he explained.
In the mechanism developed by Heru Tech, the disinfection liquid is the central element.
“We have a chemist who prepares it. The disinfectant contains different organic products so that it does not burn the eye or irritate the skin. It has to be more than 90 percent effective against microbes, germs or bacteria,” he added.
The start-up, Libasse Laye Thiaw pointed out, has entered a mass production phase.
“We can manufacture a dozen gantries per day. We’re thinking of opening another workshop to double or even triple our production capacity depending on our order book” he added.
To give guarantees of quality to potential customers, Heru Tech “is currently working with an analysis laboratory in Dakar to certify the disinfectant used” but this doesn’t seem to slow down the company, which has already been “contacted by health institutions” showing interest in its invention.
Sometimes these requests for information materialise in firm orders.
“On Monday, a gantry was delivered to a dental practice,” the engineer was pleased to add.
Heru Tech’s existence could even take a completely different turn.
“We had the honour of receiving Aminata Assome Diatta, Minister of Trade, Small and Medium Enterprises who appreciated our work, encouraged us and promised us help and she is keeping her promise” Thiaw said.
The price of a gantry depends on “integrated options.
But to make its product more accessible, Heru Tech is looking at more affordable materials.
The company, which “plans to incorporate a mask dispenser” into gantries for use in public places, also intends to market models suitable for households.