Student Innovation - Handless: A Cleaner Way To Open DoorsFollow project
People already hate touching the restroom door handle when exiting. In the midst of a global pandemic, people should hate touching all door handles. A study from the American Society for Microbiology found that one virus-contaminated door handle can infect up to 60% of all staff and visitors in the building within just 2-4 hours. There is also evidence that lever-type handles collect the most contamination from hand contact compared with common handle types used in healthcare buildings and other facilities. Currently businesses and other facilities are relying on constant distinction to overcome the spread of this virus on surfaces. At a time when cleaning supplies are out of stock and crews are understaffed, we asked if there was a way to avoid touching door handles to effectively eliminate the possibility of coming in contact with surface contamination.
Handless Door Opener is a student-owned, not-for-profit startup dedicated to mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic through impactful technology. Our device is a hands-free, foot-operated door opener compatible with lever and knob latch handles and ideally doors with auto-close functionality. It is mechanically-operated by the user’s foot and leg. The modular device will be produced in components that the buyer can easily assemble and attach to the bottom portion of the door using provided adhesive mounting strips. The device components are as follows: one pedal, two t-shaped walls, one back wall, a cylindrical rod, a front connector wall, and a cord. The bottom end of the cord will be attached to the back of the foot pedal and the top end will be secured to the door handle. When the foot is inserted into the device and the toes push the pedal upward, the cord pulls the handle down and releases the latch. Then the door can be swung open by retaining upward pressure on the pedal and pulling back with the leg. The benefits of placing a copper plate on the pedal surface in contact with the shoe are being considered. This device is ADA compliant with the guidelines set in 2010 pertaining to door attachments (see section 404.2.10), however accessibility is important to us and is being researched further to meet the needs of a wider range of abilities. Three iterations of prototyping have been achieved via 3D printing.
A provisional patent on this design has been filed and we are working with a patent attorney to strengthen the application. Continued development in design is planned to occur in collaboration with Ometek design engineers after our pilot leads administer concurrent user testing in a Johns Hopkins facility and at a business in Italy. We are considering metal fabrication or plastic laser cutting as potential larger-scale manufacturing processes.
The goal is to eliminate the need for touching door handles, which are some of the most commonly touched surfaces by everyone in a given facility. Doing so will greatly reduce community transmission due to contact transfer. Reducing transmission is extremely important for restaurants and other businesses reopening to the public, schools and universities reopening for fall semester, and keeping facilities used by essential employees and healthcare professionals cleaner so they can continue to support the economy in good health. Based on growth projections, we expect to have deployed this product in 140,000 facilities in the first five years, but this number could be greatly increased through licensing and selling through distributors with established customers and channels. Installing and using the device on as many door as possible helps to recover the economy with a decreased risk of a second wave.
Sources from Introduction
American Society for Microbiology. "How quickly viruses can contaminate buildings -- from just a single doorknob." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 September 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140908093640.htm>.
Wojgani, H., Kehsa, C., Cloutman-Green, E., Gray, C., Gant, V., & Klein, N. (2012). Hospital door handle design and their contamination with bacteria: a real life observational study. Are we pulling against closed doors?. PloS one, 7(10), e40171. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0040171