Coronavirus: Chinese architect designs 'wearable space device' to kill virus

The shield-like suit uses UV light to sterilise itself.
The shield-like suit uses UV light to sterilise itself. Photo credit: Instagram / Penda China

An architect in China has designed a "wearable space device" he says could be used to protect people against coronavirus.

The shield-like suit, designed by Sun Dayong, uses UV light to sterilise itself and is inspired by bat wings, hence its name "Be a Batman".

It would be worn like a backpack, with the bat-wing shaped carbon-fibre structural supports covered with a PVC film, reports Dezeen, an architectural and design magazine.

Pathogens on the shield would be killed as wires embedded in the plastic heat up, with the idea being to create a sterile environment inside for the person wearing it.

"The ultraviolet radiation network on the surface of the device can heat up to sterilise the surrounding environment, turning contact a way to kill, rather than spread the virus," Sun's design firm Penda China wrote on Instagram.

"The device is also foldable, ready to open automatically when we need contact with the outside world."

Although an initial design had been worked out, Sun told Dezeen that engineers would still need to do a lot more work before the suit could be made.

Sun is hoping to find funding to move forward with producing the shield and would complete the remaining design work at no charge for anyone willing to partner with him, Dezeen reported.

The shield's name comes not only from the bat-inspired design, but is also a nod to the famous superhero.

"The design follows the bionic design principle, taking bats as the prototype. When we were little, we all dreamed to be a Batman, a hero who fights evil and saves the world. Perhaps that dream is coming true today."

Bats are also a prime suspect in the mystery of what animal spread the COVID-19 to humans, though scientists continue to debate the cause.

Using genetic analysis, they have also speculated the virus may have been transmitted via pangolins, which are often used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Almost 90,000 people have been infected with coronavirus so far, with the majority of the cases in China. 

More than 3000 people have died globally from the virus.