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Automatic Touch-free Hand Sanitizers to Tackle COVID

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In view of the rapid increase of COVID-19 pandemic, there is a need to focus on personal hygiene and social responsibility. There is a high risk of the COVID virus transmission through manual use of sanitizers in public places. The contagion is primarily attributed to droplets of saliva generated by coughing, sneezing or nasal discharge. For instance, when an infected person touches the manual sanitizer, there is a high probability of viruses being transmitted to other healthy individuals. Hence personal hygiene and protection is paramount. This can be achieved through the automating hand sanitizer (touch-free), where there is no need for manual operation. In terms of personal hygiene and protection, we need a smart automatic solution using IoT technology to redress the community spread of the disease. I believe that automatic touch-free hand sanitizer can play a significant role in improving health and hygiene of individuals not only during pandemics but for other times and seasons too. 

What is the Importance of Hygiene?

Washing hands is the first and foremost thing in the lockdown period. So, keeping our hands sanitized is very important. Hand washing liquids and sanitizers plays a major role in this pandemic. Many infectious diseases can emerge if proper hand hygiene procedures are not implemented. Infectious diseases which are caused by unwashed hands, are bacteria, parasites (amoeba and enterobijaza) and viruses - novel Coronavirus, HepatitisA, E.Coli, Polio virus, Salmonella etc. Furthermore, unhygienic hands can increase public health hazards such as severe acute respiratory syndrome and avian influenza in the community. Many studies show the relation between hygienic practices and relative reduction in risk of illness which is greater than 20%. Hand washing is the simplest, most important and cost-effective way to improve hand hygiene in health care and support the prevention of infectious disease. Also, when the sanitizer we use is touch free, we can stop the spread of viruses easily. The WHO standard obligates people to wash hands with non-antibacterial soap and water or non-antibacterial hand sanitizer. The duration ranges on average from 20 seconds to 30 seconds, including rubbing the back of hands, wrists, between fingers and under fingernails. A study also showed that the average duration of scrubbing was less than 15 seconds in the community. So, this paper provides a prototype for automatic hand sanitizer using Arduino with features like timer for 20 seconds to enable proper washing of hands.

Why should we use Automatic Touch-free Hand Sanitizers?

  • Avoidance of manual touch which will minimize the spread of bacteria & viruses.
  • Eliminate a common contact point where germs can be transferred.
  • Promote Improved health & hygiene
  • Economical to deploy at public places such as offices, malls & restaurants.
  • Easy to install
  • Encourage usability & potability
  • User-friendly (easy to use)
  • Their modern appearance & aesthetically pleasing design attract attention which can increase hand hygiene compliance.
  • They deliver a standardized dose of hand soap or sanitizer.
  • Cost-effective

Where to install Touch-free Hand Sanitizers?

  • Educational institutions
  • Hospitals
  • Supermarkets
  • Cinema theatres and malls
  • Offices
  • Other workplaces & public places

Is it Easy to Develop Touch-free Hand Sanitizers?

Simple Block Diagram of the Automatic Touch-free Hand Sanitizer

Engineering students (Sathish, Santosh, Deepak and Srivarshan) from Sri Sairam Engineering College with MIT Square have developed a touch-free hand sanitizer and installed in some parts of Chennai. These kinds of products can be scaled and installed at various public places. It doesn't seem to be a rocket science!

The automatic hand sanitizer works using the ultrasonic sensor to check the presence of hands below the outlet of the sanitizer machine. It will continuously calculate the distance between the sanitizer outlet and hand and sends a signal to the Arduino to turn on the pump whenever the distance is less than 15 cm to push the sanitizer out. It controls a mini DC submersible pump detecting the movement of the hand with the help of an ultrasonic sensor and pumps the sanitizer - other information can be seen through the LCD. The short video will give us an idea how to develop a touch-free hand sanitizer.

To conclude, as a doctor I would encourage people to use Automatic Touch-free Hand Sanitizers to prevent manual touch and maintain social distance which will to a great extent break the COVID-19 chain. I personally, believe there is a high importance of automatic hand sanitizers to improve health and hygiene of individuals not only during pandemic but for other times and seasons too.