The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has installed at the Korea Institute of Radiological and Medical Services in Seoul's Nowon-gu District a mobile negative pressure isolation room for those critically ill with COVID-19. (KAIST)

By Lee Kyoung Mi and Lee Hana

Domestic researchers have developed a mobile negative pressure isolation room for critically ill COVID-19 patients to help solve the shortage of hospital beds due to a surge of cases needing intensive care. 

The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) on Jan. 7 announced that it began testing the Mobile Clinic Module (MCM), a mobile negative pressure isolation room that allows medical workers to treat critically ill patients while preventing cross-contamination. 

By generating negative pressure in the room, air can flow into the ward but not escape from it, thus preventing contaminated air from leaking. 

Since Dec. 28, KAIST has tested the module at the Korea Institute of Radiological and Medical Services in Seoul's Nowon-gu District. The module is 450 square m (15 m X 30 m) in size and includes four negative pressure rooms, an office space, a changing room and a storage room for medical devices. 

Building the module took less than a month. The KAIST research team said 14 days are needed to make an MCM and installation and delivery are possible within five days. 

The module includes a negative pressure frame, air tents and panels used to build the MCM. The components can also be used to set up testing centers and negative pressure general wards. 

Nam Tek-jin, an industrial design professor at KAIST who headed the research team, said, "The MCM minimizes the need to add new extensions to wards and will become an essential part of quarantine measures against the infectious disease cycle. The MCM is the first of its kind in the world, and we will export our hardware and operational know-how as part of Korea's key quarantine products."

Once the testing period ends on Jan. 15, medical staff and patients will evaluate the module for utility, stability and satisfaction before the MCM's commercialization.


This mask filter, which can be placed inside a cotton mask, was developed to maintain its efficiency even after more than 20 washes using soap. The filter's structure also remains unchanged after three hours of disinfection with alcohol, which means it can be used for more than a month. Conventional mask filters use an electrostatic method to block particles, so their efficiency wears off as the static energy on the surface gradually disappears and they cannot be washed.


But this new filter was made by crossing and aligning fine nanofibers to create small air holes that block viruses while allowing for easy breathing.


"The filter is not static but instead provides a physical barrier, so it can come into contact with liquids."


The research team hand washed the filter using soap and there was no change in the nanofiber structure even after 20 washes. The filter maintained its structure and 94 percent of its KF80 to N95 filtration ability after being dipped in ethanol. It also withstood four-thousand crumples and stretches. The researchers plan to commercialize the filter once they get approval from the food and drug ministry. They expect the filter to solve the mask shortage in Korea as well as reduce the environmental impact of masks when they're thrown away.


Park Se-young, Arirang News.





By hyunjin Choi


The largest gathering of innovative startups, the ComeUp 2019, takes place from Nov.27 to 29 at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, Korea. Korean startup industry and the Ministry of SMEs and Startups have organized the event together with the purpose of making it a global startup festival as Slush, a world-renowned tech startup event in Finland.


“This is the first time in Korea to organize a startup event to bring together all the domestic and international startups through the collaborative efforts between a private and public sector. It is going to be a big moment to show that South Korea is a thriving startup hub in the world full of innovative entrepreneurs and leading investors. With the amiable support system from Korean and global ventures, nine Korean startups have joined the “Unicorn”, which is a significant number for the size of the Korean economy. The barrier between capitals and countries is crashed. Through this startup event, we expect to have chances to collaborate with global startups and nurture more unicorns,” said one of the co-chief organizers of the ComeUp 2019, Bongjin Kim , CEO of a unicorn, Woowa brothers.


“ComeUp 2019 will be globalized with governmental support aiming to attract international startups into the Korean market and vice versa. The government is planning to fully support for the event, but is not going to interfere in the set of process, keeping the festival to have autonomy,” stated Junghoon Cha, the official of the Ministry of SMEs and Startups.



ComeUp 2019 is held for two days under the theme of “Meet the Future through Startups.” 

The main event is composed of eight sessions: △Food Tech △Edu Tech&Life Style △Bio&Health △Beauty&Fashion △FrontierTech △Mobility △Entertainment △FinTech. In each session, about sixty speakers are to make speeches on the startup ecosystem of each field. The main speakers are invited from domestic unicorns such as Yanolja, Viva Republica, and Woowa Brothers, as well as prestigious companies and institutions including AMOREPACIFIC, BMW, Kakao, KAIST, Stanford University, Mirae Asset, Altos Ventures and so forth. 


On top of that, a series of programs including private-public-linked events featuring speeches, panel talks, IR, networking, exhibitions, entrepreneurial ecosystem tours are set up to discover outstanding entrepreneurs with global potential. Besides, side events are also running by 20 countries including America, France, Finland, Sweden, Singapore etc. and 11 Korean institutions such as KISED(Korea Institute of Startup & Entrepreneurship Development), KOTRA(Korea Trade-investment Promotion Agency), KIBO(Korea Technology Finance Corporation).


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