The first prototype of CURA, whose name stands for Connected Units for Respiratory Ailments (and also “cure” in Latin), has been completed in a temporary field hospital within an old industrial complex in Turin, North Italy.
Designed by Carlo Ratti Associati in collaboration with an international task force of designers, engineers, medical professionals, and military experts, the open source concept was unveiled barely a month ago. Thanks to speedy construction, this inaugural prototype which was financed by the Italian bank, UniCredit, has been completed and approved for use by the World Economic Forum, with its first patients admitted in late April.
Each unit is hosted in a 20-foot intermodal container, repurposed with biocontainment equipment. An extractor creates indoor negative pressure, complying with the standards of Airborne Infection Isolation Rooms AIIRs. Two glass windows carved on the opposite sides of the containers are meant for doctors to always get a sense of the status of patients both inside and outside the pods. Also, this would potentially allow external visitors to get closer to their relatives in a safer and more humane setting. Each pod works autonomously and can be promptly shipped to any location around the world, adapting to the needs of the local healthcare infrastructure.
Carlo Ratti Associati on the design and function of CURA pods
Since CURA first launched in March, more than 2,000 firms and individuals have expressed interest in either collaborating on or reproducing or shipping container-turned-intensive care units per Carlo Ratti Associati. The firm notes that with the first unit now in operation, additional shipping containers are being modified to CURA specifications around the world including in Canada and the United Arab Emirates.