25 Replies Latest reply on Apr 13, 2020 2:53 AM by randomguys

    Projects That Fight Germs

    14rhb

      Just thinking....

       

      I always think that us engineers are a very resourceful lot: TV shows like 'scrap heap challenge' and watching Youtube videos where someone makes an electronic circuit from junk are just a few examples. For anyone not familiar with what engineers do then just have a look around this website for a few minutes at the vast breadth of great project ideas. Therefore, given the current global outbreak of COVID-19, I wonder if there are a few things us engineers could devise that might help in some way. The idea being if they were affordable in terms of the component availability/resources then others with similar resources could replicate them and hopefully help a few friends, neighbours, colleagues out that way. Maybe even something that helps in the medium term while people, especially older folk, are in isolation. And finally looking much further ahead are there things that could help prevent the spread of germs.

      My ideas, although most are not new: a contactless hand wash system would be very helpful, a contactless temperature monitor, a germ free door handle (can a low current effectively clean a metal handle?), a 3D printed gripper to open and close a variety of doors, a portable UV sterilizer for cutlery etc. If you could make a system that can electronically replace toilet roll then currently you'll be a hero/heroine in many countries - but please tone down any video evidence in subsequent blog posts .

       

      Maybe this could be an 'E14 Flash Challenge' - a special E14 theme to address an urgent issue, tariq.ahmad . I'd also suggest no $100 shopping cart prizes for this but instead some unique badges? If not, then I'm sure any discussions or ideas below could help others make an electronics/engineering based project that they hope will make a slight difference in some way.

        • Re: Projects That Fight Germs
          Vimarsh ‍

          Regarding that today only I had a brilliant idea and tweeted this:

           

          If anyone can do this, opensource it then it will be super great! This is a great time to help the entire global community!

          Even I am thinking of some ideas related to the above mentioned cause. The main one being a amazon warehouse type robot but with tank on top to clean subways, buses, etc. Also drone spraying disinfectant will be great!

          2 of 2 people found this helpful
          • Re: Projects That Fight Germs
            beacon_dave

            "...a germ free door handle (can a low current effectively clean a metal handle?)..."

             

            Episode 235: Ben Heck's Automatic Sanitizing Doorknob Episode

             

            I seem to recall in the old days hospitals used to use copper door plates and handrails a lot in an attempt to reduce the spread of germs but this practise was later stopped.

             

            "...If you could make a system that can electronically replace toilet roll then currently you'll be a hero/heroine in many countries..."

            This already exists in the form of bidet toilets. The auto targeting 'jet wash' is popular in some parts of Japan I believe.

            3 of 3 people found this helpful
              • Re: Projects That Fight Germs
                14rhb

                Hi Dave,

                 

                I also remember a study that showed copper (and maybe brass as well) had an inherent sterilising effect. Unfortunately they looked dirty compared to the stainless steel or plastic door accessories and were often replaced. Maybe they will get reintroduced in the longer term?

                 

                The toilet challenge would IMO produce some interesting homebrew ideas, hopefully at lower-cost.

              • Re: Projects That Fight Germs
                rsc

                Some sort of electronic automatic virus test kit would save the world a lot of time and money.

                The sensor element should be something like a blood sugar test strip.

                Scott

                2 of 2 people found this helpful
                • Re: Projects That Fight Germs
                  beacon_dave

                  One thing that could be useful would be an ultra-low power / low cost communications system that is simple to use. Society has become so reliant on the power grid and communication systems reliant on the power grid, yet often when disaster strikes, these are often the first things we tend to lose, often with disastrous results.

                   

                  So some sort of basic telex system operating over LoRa radios powered from a power bank, and outputting to an e-ink display or a till roll type thermal printer.

                  2 of 2 people found this helpful
                  • Re: Projects That Fight Germs
                    shabaz

                    Hi Rod,

                    Great to be thinking out-of-the-box like this. Awesome suggestions too, hopefully they inspire people if they have an idea.

                     

                    This isn't really a project,I created it the other evening, downloadable here:

                    https://bit.ly/38PpXcY

                    It's a hand sanitizer calculator (based on some WHO guide). I'll put it as a JavaScript app somewhere with input error-checking, but for now it's in a Excel spreadsheet format.

                    The green cells are inputs. The yellow cells should be left as they are, and the gray cells are the outputs.

                    No liability of course.. but hopefully it's useful.

                     

                    This is how it looks like:

                     

                    7 of 7 people found this helpful
                      • Re: Projects That Fight Germs
                        shabaz

                        First attempt.. the plastic bottle on the left contains the result. It is very watery (only faintly thicker than water) but when applied on hands, it does leave them smooth like as if there's a film of very light moisturiser.

                        So it may still need hand-cream applying after the hands are dry - not sure yet.

                        I didn't have a suitable measuring cylinder (and forgot I had some graduated beakers), hence all the calibration marks craziness on the bottles. Also a 10ml or 20ml syringe would be helpful. And smaller bottles to distribute the result in different rooms in the home (and kept out of reach of children).

                        I made 1 liter of the hand sanitizer, but a better option would be a 5 litre can of isopropanol5 litre can of isopropanol, and that way there's enough to last a few months, even if others nearby need some because hand wash seems to be unavailable in a lot of stores. Not a lot of Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) and glycerine is required, so those bottles will last for many tens of litres of resultant product. The H2O2 (it is a 12% bottle, it comes in different strengths) and Glycerine were available from Amazon. Syringe from pharmacy, although I did have to explain before they'd sell it.

                         

                        Also, I'm wondering if it is possible to use the same formulation to wipe down surfaces i.e. make it multi-purpose - I'll will try to find information on that. Because anything 'antibacterial'-labeled like kitchen cleaning products are in high demand too.

                        To be honest, this has been a normal procedure for me for 10 years - whenever I go to a hotel, I wipe down the TV remote and all door handles/locks, kettle, etc., with (store-bought) hand sanitizer. A bit like wiping down a room after a crime but in reverse Maybe others do the same too I cannot be the only one! : )

                         

                        Values that I used, since I had 99.7% IPA, 12% H2O2 and 99.9% Glycerine, and wanted 1 litre of resultant product:

                        2 of 2 people found this helpful
                          • Re: Projects That Fight Germs
                            14rhb

                            Hi Shabaz,

                             

                            Very useful info - I've just used some of my IPA in a similar way (I'm sure my PCBs can stay dirty for a few weeks). I watered mine down accordingly but didn't have the other ingredients you mention. All I can say is that everyone knew when I'd used it !  My hands are very dry - could have been all the scrubbing to get Moly grease off them earlier in the week though.

                             

                            PS: I also do a hotel wipe down. On that note I have often had to repair the TV RF cable in hotels - remaking the cable connection or springing the contacts tighter

                            4 of 4 people found this helpful
                              • Re: Projects That Fight Germs
                                shabaz

                                Hi Rod,

                                Hehe you're a secret electrician, fixing hotel rooms : )

                                I have hand dryness too, but trying to always remember the hand-cream now after washing.

                                What I tried the other night is to do the wiping downstairs at night-time, and then open all internal doors, and then turn on the kitchen extractor fan for an hour. It was effective, smell was gone, but maybe an open window would have worked for this length of time too, I still need to try that.

                                3 of 3 people found this helpful
                          • Re: Projects That Fight Germs
                            fmilburn

                            When I read this I thought we need something to keep us from touching our faces.  Well, someone has beat me to it :-). https://blog.arduino.cc/2020/03/10/this-pair-of-arduino-glasses-stops-you-from-touching-your-face/

                            2 of 2 people found this helpful
                            • Re: Projects That Fight Germs
                              14rhb

                              Another thought, albeit non-electronics based: the humble phone stylus (or similar) is probably a good idea for proding communial touchscreens or keypads. Just be extra careful if you are an 'end of pen biter'...yuck.

                              • Re: Projects That Fight Germs
                                clem57

                                With panic buying, we forget the simple things. Just wash with warm water and soap for at least a chorus of happy birthday (or pi day!). And do it often during day...

                                  • Re: Projects That Fight Germs
                                    beacon_dave

                                    Pay special attention around the area of the nails. The Royal Institution posted a video of hand washing under a UV light recently, which highlighted this as a potential issue. I suspect that nail brushes, like toothbrushes, will likely add to the problem of re-infecting.

                                     

                                    However, I doubt that everyone can sustain that level of water use for very long.

                                  • Re: Projects That Fight Germs
                                    tariq.ahmad

                                    Hi 14rhb ,

                                     

                                    I think the idea of building projects around sanitation is a great idea.  Perhaps these projects can pop up in existing themes?  To set up a competition would need something as a prize to organize it and don't know just what that would be.  I think the gravity of what's going on is obviously hitting different people, differently.  One way to deal with it would be to be part of the solution and not the problem.  There's a lot of merit in thinking up innovative solutions to problems and applying those ideas to complete projects that come up with solutions.  Maybe we'll see something with the events happening around Pi, Arduino, or Women Engineers?

                                    3 of 3 people found this helpful
                                      • Re: Projects That Fight Germs
                                        shabaz

                                        Hi Tariq,

                                         

                                        I hope things are ok where you are. We'll all need to do all we can to help each other here and in the physical community around us too, I guess that's becoming universal right now wherever we are.

                                        Now you mention it, I suspect we'll all spend some time using technology in extra or different ways, whether it's setting up whole neighborhood WhatsApp groups to keep in touch, or providing electrical fixes or minor repairs within our communities etc.

                                        I hope someone figures out a way to use a Pi and camera to indicate each time the face is touched, to train away that habit. Or thermal cameras to identify big heat gradients in rooms, so people learn not to put their bags or shopping or packages or other objects that many people may have handled, in an area where there's a lot of air movement. I've been conscious about that, thinking that where there are drafts of air, are areas that maybe need more thorough cleaning if people place things there. It's just speculation though I guess : ( these are exceptional times, and unfortunately some of it is a learning experience - but hopefully we can share good ideas as you say, and it might trigger someone to come up with novel things or more insight, to make this nightmare a bit easier for however long it takes.

                                        4 of 4 people found this helpful
                                      • Re: Projects That Fight Germs
                                        gecoz

                                        Hi Rod,

                                         

                                        Great suggestions. Having tools to help prevent the spreading of all sort of diseases is a great aim but, sometimes, they induce a false sense of security in people, believing that all they need to do is to have a gizmo that tells them what to do and nothing will happen to them, leading them to be less careful in their everyday life. As most of cases, the most effective thing to do is also the easiest: wash your hands, wash them thoroughly (aim for 20 seconds), wash them often. It is amazing how much this simple action can help in fighting the contagion.

                                         

                                        Fabio

                                        3 of 3 people found this helpful
                                        • Re: Projects That Fight Germs
                                          Christopher Stanton

                                          • Re: Projects That Fight Germs
                                            randomguys

                                            I feel that a hyperbaric pressure room at 2 atmospheres, with a mix of any of the 14 antivirals shown to have some effect (non-contraindicative) combined with fairly regular transfusions to  deal with viral titre (if this option is available) is currently the best way to deal with this thing while we wait for the dozen or so methods that look to yield 95%+ survival rates, ie genetic engineering, bio chemical engineering, solutions are up and running. I have been fighting this thing for over 100 days from a model a based on spanishflu, called Spanishflu2, I pointed out months ago, the virus will end up on the floor and be spread by hospital staff this way, proved by the Chinese 5 days ago, The 2 meter rule is 80 years and 4 months old, it s 7 meters this can be tested by any one with engineering knowledge  with a black light and some type of aerosol  or atomiser, ideally you want a gylco protein of roughly viral size in there. Making Chinese and Italian doctors work with 4-6 hours sleep dropped the efficiency of their antigen defence system by 60% (proven in vitro in CoV1 patients years ago), and  trumps wonder drug works but not the way most experts think its main efficacy is related to iron disassociation in the blood, this is a long list of things that have made me many enemies in the world of science and medicine(egos I guess), and some friends. The problem from day 1 is an EXPERT in only 1 or 2 fields will generally give advice that can kill think COV1 and cytokine storm issue. The one engineering machine capable of defeating this thing requires such insane levels of skill to operate that I gave mine one of 30 in my country away 2 months ago to France (ECMO)- heart lung bypass, many engineers have made ventilators, but without a PEEP system these things are basically auto euthanasia devices, I managed to get one up and running with last generation PEEP it was hard, I then dismantled in case my youngest child tried to use it on me in a worse case scenario, as the last gift I should leave him should not be crippling guilt. SO  TOP SUMMARISE ENGINEERS YES, BUT MULTIDISCIPLINARY TEAMS ONLY, electronic engineers, mechanical engineers,genetic engineers, chemical engineers, and some medical input. Life is a complex non linear dynamic system and without a view of the bigger picture there are many unseen dangers.