Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Victoria leads charge for child-safe batteries

12 June 2014

Victoria leads charge for child-safe batteries

Innovative battery technology designed at Victoria University of Wellington could soon be helping to save the lives of young children all over the world.

Design lecturer Jeongbin Ok has hit upon a solution to minimise the damage of swallowing coin-sized, button cell lithium batteries, commonly found in electronic devices such as toys and remote controls, which can result in serious harm or death if not treated within two hours.

In collaboration with one of the world’s largest battery manufacturers, Mr Ok, who has qualifications in design and chemical engineering, has spent the last three years developing modifications to button batteries.

His invention involves applying a thin layer of highly concentrated food colouring to the surface of button batteries during production. The food colouring is activated by saliva.

“If a child swallows a battery it will immediately stain their mouth, so that caregivers know what has happened and can seek medical treatment immediately,” says Mr Ok.

To assess the viability of his invention, Viclink, Victoria’s commercialisation office, helped Mr Ok to identify a suitable partner, putting in place a joint development and licensing agreement. Mass production is expected to begin early next year.

“For Victoria University to be involved in a project that will have global implications for the safety of children is a great opportunity. I hope that once the product is commercialised it will become an industry standard,” he says.

Mr Ok is also working on new packaging technology to keep loose batteries secure and provide a safe way of disposing of used batteries.

His research has led to Victoria University being the only academic institution to partner in a national and global initiative, called The Battery Controlled, which is focused on preventing children from swallowing button batteries.

Mr Ok’s research has been conducted with support from the Consumer Product Safety Commission in the United States and Consumer Affairs New Zealand.

Some facts about button batteries

• From 2011 until 2013, the National Poisons Centre received 175 calls regarding button battery-related child injuries.
• Sixty-three children were treated at Starship Children’s Health emergency department from March 2009 until February 2012.
• Children under six years old are at the greatest risk of swallowing button batteries.
• When a button battery gets stuck in a child’s throat, their saliva triggers an electrical current that can severely burn the oesophagus in as little as two hours.
• Symptoms may be similar to other childhood illnesses, such as coughing, drooling and discomfort.
• When X-rayed, the battery can be mistaken for a coin.
• Once burning begins, damage can continue even after the battery is removed.

Source: www.thebatterycontrolled.co.nz

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Scoop Review Of Books: From Here And There

Being Chinese: A New Zealander’s Story
by Helene Wong.
This is the fascinating story of Helene Wong, born in 1949 in Taihape to Chinese parents: her mother, born soon after her parents migrated here, and her father, born in China but sent to relatives in Taihape at seven to get an education in English. More>>

Chiku: Hamilton Zoo's Baby Chimpanzee Named

Hamilton Zoo has named its three-month-old baby chimpanzee after a month-long public naming competition through the popular zoo’s website. The name chosen is Chiku, a Swahili name for girls meaning "talker" or "one who chatters". More>>

Game Over: Trans-Tasman Netball League To Discontinue

Netball Australia and Netball New Zealand have confirmed that the existing ANZ Championship format will discontinue after the current 2016 season, with both organisations to form national netball leagues in their respective countries. More>>

NZSO Review: Stephen Hough Is Perfection-Plus

He took risks, and leant into the music when required. But you also felt that every moment of his playing made sense in the wider picture of the piece. Playing alongside him, the NZSO were wonderful as ever, and their guest conductor, Gustavo Gimeno, coaxed from them a slightly darker, edgier sound than I’m used to hearing. More>>

ALSO:

Howard Davis Review: King Lear At Circa

In order to celebrate it's 40th birthday, it is perhaps fitting that Circa Theatre should pick a production of 'King Lear,' since it's also somewhat fortuitously Shakespeare's 400th anniversary. If some of the more cerebral poetry is lost in Michael Hurst's streamlined, full throttle production, it's more than made up for by plenty of lascivious violence designed to entertain the groundlings. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Tauranga Books Festival

Escape to Tauranga for Queen’s Birthday weekend and an ideas and books-focused festival that includes performance, discussion, story-telling, workshops and an Italian-theme morning tea. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news