modClave: Store & Sterilise

  • 2023

  • Next Gen

Designed By:

Designed In:


The modClave is a modular sterilisation desktop appliance that supports small-to-medium sized medical practices to eliminate waste of metal-ware instruments. This simple and cost effective solution addresses challenges faced by clinics due to the high cost of traditional autoclaves, which has led to a reliance on single-use instruments.

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  • The medical industry is the second largest contributor of waste in Australia, generating 8 million tonnes of waste per year. As concerns for the climate crisis rise globally, the medical industry has been slow to innovate due to cost-cutting and liability concerns. A culture of waste is ingrained across the healthcare system due to decades of stigma and legislative reform stemming from the fear of blood-borne disease. As a result this industry is reliant on single use metal-ware instruments such as scissors, tweezers and forceps due to their short-term economic savings and perceived ease by medical staff.

  • The design presented, solves the waste found in research by allowing private practices who, often are unable to afford effective waste disposal methods, a platform to sterilise and store medical equipment safely and cheaply. The modClave is comprised of two main components, the desktop unit and the module. The module provides a simple container to store metal-ware medical equipment ready for sterilisation and long-term storage. The desktop unit then provides the resources necessary to sterilise the module's contents with steam, heat and pressure to a medical-grade standard.

  • The impact the modClave has on the health care systems accelerating waste issue is two fold. Firstly, the modClave reduces the friction involved in traditional sterilisation by automating many of the tedious cleaning processes thanks to advances in technology. Which results in not only environmental savings but also economic savings where labor can be diverted directly into patient care. And secondly, where key design decisions have been made to improve the social impact where the product becomes apart of the health care where both doctor and nurse can manage the intervention together.

  • The modClave was designed as apart of an Applied Research and Design studio at the Queensland University of Technology. The self-led project enabled the designer to interview and conduct cultural probes with health professionals in both the private medical clinic environments as well as public sectors such as hospitals. The resulting intervention, The modClave, inserts itself as a part of the daily rituals found within private practices, becoming an extension of the doctor's practice and not a separate part of health care. By refocussing the traditional autoclave and reducing the operating capacity we can focus on low-volume use-cases such as private practices and instead offer features and experiences that improve the quality of life for both patients and doctors. The use of modules that plug in to desktop unit allow for a customised experience. Where each module could be modified internally to hold a range of different instruments for use in common procedures or rare cases. The modClave is then supported by a SasS model where each desktop appliance may be leased from a third-party. This allows for low barrier to entries for the widest environmental impact. Technical services could also then be provided to maintain long-term reliability.