Student researchers turn shipping containers into solar powered medical clinics

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VIDEO: Student researchers turn shipping containers into solar powered medical clinics

(WKRG/ CBS News) — At 40 feet long and 9 1/2 feet high, a shipping container could save lives around the world.

Cody Van Cleve, a student at Arizona State University, is part of the team that created the containerized clinic. “We’re talking about providing medical care in disaster response scenarios, humanitarian situations or military operations where there’s no existing infrastructure, said Van Cleve.

The self-contained, self-powered mobile doctor’s office is equipped to handle nearly every kind of outpatient service. It can be deployed virtually anywhere by truck, rail or ship.

The U.S. Office of Naval Research sponsored the project, tasking students with finding a way to get medical care to the world’s most vulnerable people in the most remote areas.

“Human conflicts and climate change are increasing the incidents of displaced people and refugees around the world,” said Professor Nathan Johnson of Arizona State University.

To ensure the system will be self-reliant in nearly any environment, the team designed the clinic to run entirely on solar power with batteries built in for backup. An onboard water treatment system is capable of cleaning nearly 1,200 gallons each hour.

The prototype will face its first real test this summer in a refugee camp in Uganda where it aims to provide healthcare to 12,000 refugees.

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