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Wednesday, August 24, 2022

TechPort Launches ‘Hot Box’ in COVID-19 Fight


TechPort, the technology incubator located at the Aviation Technology Park at the St. Mary’s airport, has launched its second tech-response in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic: the Heat Sanitization Box, called the “Hot Box.”

The Hot Box disinfects thousands of personal protective face masks within an hour to provide medical professionals with the ability to successfully sanitize and reuse lifesaving equipment.

“We have been engaging in back and forth dialogue/studies with NASA and Dr. Peter Tsai, co-inventor of the N95. These organizations have helped validate heat as a viable sanitation technology. Their support has been invaluable,” said TechPort Director Tommy Luginbill.

The box is currently awaiting FDA approval, through a unique application called an Emergency Use Authorization.

“The FDA has been extremely responsive, and we are working through the details of getting the module approved through their organization,” Mr. Luginbill said.

The Hot Box currently sits outside of the UM Charles Regional Medical Center. The hospital and heat module are less than one mile from the Sagepoint Senior Living Services in La Plata, MD.

“We are actively coordinating with the UM medical team to help them prepare for the influx of patients,” said Mr. Luginbill.

This is the second COVID-19 directed innovation to emerge from the collaboration of TechPort and Southern Maryland Loves You (SoMDLovesYou), a nonprofit created to aid those on the front lines combating COVID-19. The nonprofit hopes to have these machines used all around the country to aid those fighting this health battle.

Southern Maryland Loves You was incubated out of TechPort. It is made up of around 100 engineers, medical professionals, and other collaborators. It grew from an online messaging system set up by Matt Hayes, a local business owner. Mr. Hayes’ sought to discuss ideas that would aid those on the front lines combating COVID-19.

TechPort intern Alec Dobbins came up with the idea to make 3D masks, which led to more ideas, which produced a collaborative effort that determined Face Shield Frames were easy to produce with the resources the organization had at hand. Prusa, a 3D printer company, provided a face shield frame outline for people to use during this pandemic. After a single member found a way to form plastic for the face shields, that became a new project for the group.

All contributors of the organization are volunteers. Tremendous support and response grew the organization very quickly. It began with five members a matter of weeks ago. The Hot Box came about as the organization searched for more ways to continue their efforts.

The link above provides a mechanism to donate to SoMDLovesYou via Paypal.

For more information about the growing Aviation Technology Park at St. Mary’s airport, contact Ken Reed at S. Hunt Aero, St. Mary’s County Regional Airport, 44174 Airport Road, California, MD 20619; [email protected]. To learn more about S. Hunt Aero, visit their Leader Member Page.

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