Making the First Hundred Better Body Bag Prototypes: Preparation
Better Body Bag is the next generation body bag. It aims to set new standards in identifying victims of natural disasters and armed conflict. Its primary goal is to protect the identity of the victim and ensure closure for the families. This is done by delaying decomposition and improving visual identification.
The first large-scale production of Better Body Bag (BBB) prototypes started in January 2017, in a space kindly provided by DuPont. The principal recipient for these bags was the International Committee of the Red Cross headquarters in Geneva that would subsequently be redistributed to key testing locations. Ten bags were also sent to the University of Köln for qualitative assessment. The next two blog posts on the HIF website will describe the processes required for the production of prototypes of the Better Body Bag. The first part will detail the organisation phase required prior to the practical component of production, while the second part will discuss it on a manufacturing level.
It was key to have a strong infrastructure on which production could be based. One essential component of this was the organisation for the acquirement of materials required for the first hundred Body Bags, considered as a shared responsibility within the core team. Due to the geographically dispersed nature of the team, many of the communications surrounding the acquisition of materials occurred on a web-based hosting service. Additionally, having responsibilities in a written form made things more practical in terms of organisation and delegation.
Required actions were initiated by a member through threads that fitted into one of the following categories: ‘do, question, talk, help wanted’ and assigned a different priority level: ‘high, medium, low’. An interesting example of a ‘Do, High’ thread requiring efficient action was initiated by Daniel of the Social Solutions Research Association. He raised the concern of “Who can order the valves?” followed by an estimation of 154 units necessary to accomplish our final production goal (The valves are essential for the vacuum quality of the Better Body Bag, c.f to first blog post ‘The Better Body Bag and How It All Started’). To which Joao replied: “I can order the valves. Please give me model + vendor”. And the rest is prototype history.
A different thread example with different labels, ‘Talk, Medium’, that raised different inputs from the SSRA members was “How do we fold the BBB before they go into the carton?” initiated by Steffen. Different angles took into account not only how to efficiently fold the Better Body Bag but also the shape and size of the box. This included taking into consideration the ICRC necessities in the field, what is ergonomic for an individual to carry, what fold provides the best use of space and the least stress for the ziploc feature of the bag and what is the most time efficient fold for the field in terms of putting a cadaver inside.
Although the web-based platform allowed us to initiate conversations on concerns surrounding how to fold the bags, the solution came during the manufacturing process. Max, who was volunteering during the production period, found the most optimal manner to fold the bag, taking all the information acquired earlier from the web-based platform, into account. In the end, the prototype bags were placed into two types of boxes: one that contained five bags and the other that contained four bags and a pump.
The next blogpost will detail the production phase of the first large-scale production of Better Body Bags, including the brainstorming encouraged throughout the process, and idea production ambiance that led to the previously discussed body bag folding solution.