We've reported on shipping containers being used for lots of different projects before, such as swimming pools, bars, and houses, but Connected Units for Respiratory Ailment (CURA) is an example that could potentially save lives. It involves transforming the metal boxes into easily transportable intensive care units (ICU) that can be shipped worldwide to help those in need of treatment as COVID-19 continues to spread.
CURA is being developed by a team that includes Carlo Ratti Associati, Italo Rota, Studio FM Milano, Humanitas Research Hospital, Jacobs, Squint/opera, and others. It's open-source and is built from standard 20 ft (6.1 m) long shipping containers that we'd assume are either new or very carefully and thoroughly cleaned. The containers are modified with windows and entrances and then joined onto a larger inflatable structure to create modular configurations in different sizes as needed, from four beds to over 40.
While doctors already have hospital tents at their disposal for these kind of emergency situations, the team reckons that CURA would (with the correct equipment installed) offer a benefit over tents by creating a negative room pressure system. Put simply, the negative room pressure means that air flows into the containers but not out, helping to mitigate the risk of further spreading the virus. The system is often used in traditional brick-and-mortar isolation wards.