8 Innovative Designs for Navigating Public Spaces During COVID-19

8 Innovative Designs for Navigating Public Spaces During COVID-19

By Laura Mauk
From barrier screens to 3D-printed door openers to social distancing circles, these clever solutions help alleviate the risk of contracting COVID-19.

As the pandemic continues to rage across the globe and drastically shift our relationship to public spaces, designers, makers, and manufacturers are hard at work creating solutions to keep us safer and healthier. Here are eight compelling designs that are as thoughtful as they're practical.


3D-Printed Door Openers by Hewlett-Packard

A 3D-printable, hands-free door opener by Materialise is available via Hewlett-Packard.

Hewlett-Packard's personal door opener can be 3D-printed via a free design file available on the company's website.

Hewlett-Packard is offering 3D-printable tools that can be used to open doors without touching potentially contaminated handles. For easy portability, the personal door opener (above) can be attached to belts or clothing parts. Approximately 40 personal openers and almost 120 hands-free openers (top) can be 3D-printed in a full build using an HP Jet Fusion 5200 and 4200 3D Printing Solutions. The free design files can be found at Hewlett-Packard


Dining Greenhouses in Amsterdam 

Mediamatic ETEN, a restaurant in Amsterdam, situated tiny greenhouses along the waterfront, where guests can dine while remaining separated.

Mediamatic ETEN, a waterfront restaurant in Amsterdam, Netherlands, installed individual compact greenhouses along the water’s edge that allow patrons to dine while maintaining physical distance. The waitstaff, who wear protective gear, serve plant-based offerings atop long wood boards to avoid contact with guests.


Barrier Screens by Versare

A barrier screen, designed by Versare, can be placed on counters in public spaces to protect against the virus.

Versare, a Minneapolis, Minnesota, company that manufactures cubicles and room dividers, has shifted focus and is now making acrylic screens for retail checkout counters and reception areas in public spaces. The screens, which protect both customers and employees, are offered in various heights, widths, and configurations.


Social Distancing Circles in Domino Park, Brooklyn

Domino Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, now features bright white social distancing circles for visitors to sit inside while using the park. 

To encourage social distancing in Domino Park, a popular waterfront park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York, white circles, drawn six feet apart, designate places to sit or stand for visitors. Applied with chalk paint on artificial grass, the eight-foot circles are arranged in symmetrical rows and create a graphic, organized aesthetic for the park.  White circles have also shown up in San Francisco parks.


Modular Hospital Rooms by Jupe Health


Jupe Health's modular hospital rooms collapse and can be flat-packed for easy transport.

The Jupe Care modular room, designed for non-critical COVID-19 patients, accommodates a sleeping or rest area, a bathroom and space for hospital-ready hookups and equipment. 

Humanitarian startup Jupe Health has developed affordable, shippable modular hospital rooms that are flat-packed during transport and pop up to take on their three-dimensional form when put in place. The rooms can be quickly dispatched to crisis zones: A standard flatbed truck can carry up to 24 of the compact shelters, and a cargo ship can pack 500,000 per trip. According to Jupe’s chief medical advisor Dr. Esther Choo, the rooms cost a fraction of what it takes to operate a single room in a standard hospital. "The health system has many overlapping needs right now, and cannot function well without all the pieces in place," says Dr. Choo.


Smart 5G Patrol Robot by Guangzhou Gosuncn Robot Co., Ltd.

Using Advantech technology, 5G patrol robots developed by Guangzhou Gosuncn Robot Co., Ltd monitor mask wearing and body temperatures in public spaces in China.

The Guangzhou Gosuncn Robot Co., Ltd. upgraded its 5G-powered patrol robot, with new capabilities to monitor mask wearing and body temperatures in shopping malls and airports in China. The self-driving robots, which use Advantech technology, are equipped with five high-resolution cameras and infrared thermometers that scan the temperature of 10 people at a time within a radius of 16 feet. 


Snorkel Mask-Turned-Emergency Ventilator by ISINNOVA

A snorkeling mask converts to an emergency ventilator using 3D-printed parts developed by ISINNOVA, an Italian engineering company. 

In collaboration with Dr. Renato Favero, ISINNOVA, an Italian engineering company, has devised custom 3D-printed components that transform a standard Decathlon International snorkeling mask into an emergency ventilator mask. The patent for the parts is now available for use worldwide. 


Walk-In Testing Booth by CannonDesign 

Designed by CannonDesign, a testing booth with transparent walls and sealed gloves provides protection from COVID-19 contamination during screenings. 

Inspired by Yang Ji General Hospital's testing enclosure in Seoul, South Korea, architect Albert Rhee, of New York–based design firm CannonDesign, has developed a walk-in testing booth that protects healthcare workers and patients alike, limiting exposure to COVID-19 during screenings and examinations. The booths, which feature transparent partitions and sealed gloves, help reduce the need for Personal Protective Equipment.

Related Reading:

Architects and Designers Weigh in on the Future of Work

Yes, You Should Wear a Face Mask. Here’s How to Get or Make One

Life After COVID-19: How the Pandemic May Reshape the World as We Know It

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