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    Fighting Germs

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    Congratulations to shabaz  for Safe, Contact-less Virtual Buttons!   You are the winner of an IR Camera +  $200 Shopping Cart + $200 Charity Donation and earn the Grand Prize Trophy Badge!


    Congratulations to rahulkhanna for COVID-19 - Authorized Entry Using Face Mask Detectiondougw for Corona Cap,  and aspork42  for Non-Contact automatic Temperature checker!  You are the First Place winners of a Germicidal Lamp + $100 Shopping Cart + $100 Donation and earn First Place Trophies!


    The COVID-19 pandemic is a worldwide crisis the likes of which no one is old enough to have seen in their lifetime.   Its affected our lives in ways that most of us never imagined and the effect of what has happened will be felt for sometime to come.  The Fighting Germs competition launched shortly after the world went under lockdown.   It's the times when we feel powerless to do anything that tend to bring people together.  Together, we can retake control of a situation no one has control of.  This is an online community for engineers so like any community, this competition sprung organically in a response to a discussion, Projects That Fight Germs, from one of its members, 14rhb.   It's proof that communities can bring people together and provide a constructive outlet for dealing with problems, in this case, engineers develop solutions to fix problems.  Sometimes, the smallest things bring the biggest changes. Some of the most interesting projects were simple and done with whatever people had lying around them.


    Many of us thought we would be back in our office and life would have already reverted back to something close to approaching normal.   But here in the US, even as the lockdown is easing in much of the country, new cases have remained steady or increased.   At the same time, there has been great social upheaval, and much of what we have gone through with this pandemic has been normalized, and that is frightening to most.  There's no predicting what the next 2-3 months will look like.   While the story is not so grim, at the moment, in some places in the world, if we've learned anything during this trying year, it should be that what affects one place in the world,  affects us all.  Without a cure or a vaccine, we will need problem solvers such as doctors and engineers to light a torch that leads us away from darkness, and it will be those who solve problems, that will ultimately get us out of this.


    Special thanks to our community member judges: genebrenDAB , redcharly , fmilburn , and ninjatrent.  Also, special thanks to mayermakes from element14 presents for shooting the social trailer for this competition and for volunteering to judge this competition.  We hope you take the time to look through these projects and hopefully use them as inspiration for being part of the solution, rather than the problem.   It has been an honor to host this competition and we hope that these projects mean as much to you as they mean to us.



    Without further Ado here are your winners.......


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    The Winners

    The Grand Prize


    Safe, Contact-less Virtual Buttons!  by shabaz:


    Community Member Scoring:


    Grand Prize: 4 points, First Place:  3 point  Total Points: 7 Points


    The heart of the system is an FDC2214 Capacitance to Digital Converter part from Texas Instruments which can measure capacitance at an extremely high resolution. The capacitor-under-test is assembled into a resonant circuit using a parallel inductor, and the TI chip measures the oscillation frequency. If the capacitance changes then the frequency changes. The TI chip is connected to a microcontroller which can read the frequency (and therefore indirectly the capacitance) for up to four resonant circuits, and it can take measurements hundreds of times a second.


    In order to bring the human user into the system, the capacitance needs to be modified in some way as the user attempts to air-touch a virtual button. I decided to implement a ‘self capacitance’ method, whereby one end of the resonant circuit is attached to a metal plate. A nearby human finger will create a capacitance with the body, and the body will have a capacitance to ground. Similarly the metal plate will have some capacitance to ground. The change in capacitance due to the finger presence will be small, but measurable. With traditional capacitive touch sensors the measurement method isn’t as granular or low-noise, however the resonant circuit frequency measurement method is! The presence of a finger should cause a noticeable difference to occur in the measured capacitance even at some distance away.


    Also,  be sure to check out shabaz's other Fighting Germs project:



    Safe, Contact-less Virtual Buttons!

    "Avoiding germs is a great step to protection - Shabaz's Touchless buttons are a great approach to helping with fighting germs.  Clean design, excellent performance, another great project." - Community Member Judge

    "This is a very useful system for decreasing the spread of germs." - Community Member Judge


    "It's a nice and useful project and uses FFT and frequency analysis to solve problems. The code is present and well described. This is the typical project that I like to discuss in class with my students looking for practically feasible solutions and then analyzing the one proposed by the designer. To me, good work." - Community Member Judge

    "Shabaz is awesome.  The use of FFT to discriminate between buttons using capacitance at a distance is genius.  This is worthy of the grand prize as well." - Community Member Judge

    First Place Winners:


    COVID-19 - Authorized Entry Using Face Mask Detection by rahulkhanna:


    Community Member Scoring:


    Grand Prize: 4 points  First Place: 1 point  Total Points: 5 Points


    "Prevention is better than cure" is one of the effective measures to prevent the spreading of COVID-19 and to protect mankind. COVID-19 spreads mostly by droplet infection when people cough or if we touch someone who is ill and then to our face (i.e rubbing eyes or nose). Ongoing pandemic shows that it is much more contagious and spreads fast. Depending on the infection spreading, we have two cases: Fast and Slow spread. Fast pandemic will be terrible and will cost many lives. It occurs due to a rapid rate of infection because there are no countermeasures to slow it down. This is because, if the numbers of infected people get too large, healthcare systems become unable to handle it. We will lack resources such as medical staff or equipment like a ventilator. To avoid the above situation, we need to do what we can to turn this into a slow pandemic. A pandemic can be slowed down only by the right responses, mainly in the early phase. In this phase, everyone who is sick can get treatment and there is no emergency point with flooded hospitals.


    This system is designed to detect the faces and to determine whether the person wears a face mask or not. Using the above data, we can decide whether the concerned person can be allowed inside public places such as the market, or a hospital. This project can be used in the hospital, market, bus terminals, restaurants, and other public gatherings where the monitoring has to be done. This project consists of a camera that will capture the image of the people entering public places and detect whether the person wears a face mask or not using their facial features.


    COVID-19 - Authorized Entry Using Face Mask Detection

    "I like the idea and it seems to work well in the demonstration." - Community Member Judge


    "This is an excellent application of facial recognition technology. There's a lot of potential with this design." - Community Member Judge

    Corona Cap  by dougw:


    Community Member Scoring:


    Grand Prize: 2 points  First Place:  3 points  Total Points: 5 Points


    After seeing some 3D printed masks, dougw  was inspired to make a simple one that could clip onto the brim of a baseball cap. It turned out to be a very lightweight transparent barrier that can prevent spray from reaching your face and prevent your spray from getting on someone else. The 3D printed frame simply clamps a photocopier transparency in a curved shape and clips it to the brim of a hat. You can also wear a filter style mask under it, if you need more protection.  dougw includes some 3d printed files which you can use to print your own Corona Cap with the cap you feel most comfortable wearing on your head!


    Check out his other ideas for fighting the virus in:


    Corona Cap

    " A clean and easy device to help shield us from germs.  I really like the clip on feature so I can wear my favorite cap and protect myself from germs at the same time." - Community Member Judge




    Non-Contact automatic Temperature checker by aspork42


    Community Member Scoring:


    Grand Prize: 2 points  First Place:  1 points  Total Points: 3 Points


    With a fever being one of the most common symptoms of COVID-19, being able to check someone for a fever could be a very useful first step. It seems that a lot of companies are interested in ways to ensure that their employees are safe when they arrive to work, and having a simple way to check for a fever could be a simple method used. aspork42  devised a simple rig to automatically check someone's temperature and give a pass/fail result, as well as a third 'borderline' where there is elevated temperature, but the person should proceed for further screening to verify. What he wanted to create was a simple device that could check one's temperature. He wanted it to be non-invasive and non-contact. He also restrained himself to only using what he had on-hand and not ordering any parts, as to not add any additional stress on other companies unduly. He used a Panasonic AMG 8833 sensor on a breakout board from Adafruit as the main sensor. This is an infrared (thermal) sensor with a resolution of 8x8 pixels. He had this laying around as a spare from the Smart Range Hood project (Still up and running!). Most projects using this generate a heat map image, but he wanted to go a little simpler. He just used three LEDs to indicate the status. Green = good, Yellow = borderline, Red = Fever. To trigger the system, he used a VL53LOX Time of Flight sensor. He able to control the trigger distance this way and only read the thermal sensor when a person is in range. For the controller, he used an Arduino Compatible EtherTen from Freetronics


    Non-Contact Automatic Temperature Checker

    "I like everything about this project: it is well described and rich in code but I chose it above all for the final part where it develops some statistics to solve the problem of classifying the states of "healthy" and "sick". It will certainly be one of the projects I will show my students next school year. Congratulations to the author. There would be other projects to mention but I think I have been long-winded enough." - Community Member Judge

    The Runners Up

    Runners Up:


    The following members received first place votes.



    Outdoor Social Distance Alert by ralphjy:


    Outdoor Social Distance Alert


    "A very clean design/implementation of a device to protect us from germs by establishing a safe perimeter." - Community Member Judge






    EEVP-ROM Eraser by rsc:


    Candle in the wind


    "A simple and effective way to kill germs on your PPE so that you can reuse them, as it can be tough to find these." - Community Member Judge



    Anti-Virus Ideas by dougw:


    Anti-Virus Ideas




    EMDR tappers with Arduino (to reduce stress and anxiety)  by ilvyanyatka:


    EMDR tappers with Arduino (to reduce stress and anxiety)

    "Seems like a good idea: these days Covid does not only live on disinfectants and diagnostic tools but it is also important to improve the quality of life as much as possible even when we are indoors." - Community Member Judge




    5% Chlorine solution disinfectant station  by cypresstwist:


    5% Chlorine Solution disinfectant station

    "A very interesting and detailed project. It's like a tutorial on how to build a hand disinfection station and it's nice to see it assembled and used." - Community Member Judge

    COVID-19 Handwash Timer (Touchless)  by  drecali


    COVID-19 Handwash Timer (Touchless)


    "A number of handwash timers showed up on the internet but this one has the advantages of being simple and is well documented." - Community Member Judge



    UV LED Sterilization Lamp  by ninjatrent:


    UV LED Steriization Lamp




    The 20 Second Handwash  by vimarsh_:


    20 Second Handwash


    In the comments below:


    Be sure to Congratulate the Winners and Keep Being Awesome!