News

Sunderland University experts create new gadget to open doors without using hands to help prevent spread of coronavirus

Sunderland University experts have got a handle on preventing the spread of coronavirus.

With the threat of infection from shared door handles high, the university’s Automotive and Manufacturing Advanced Practice (AMAP) put their heads together to come up with a way to minimise the risk of transmission.

And they quickly developed a creative response to the crisis - a way to open doors without using your hands.

The AMAP team designed and manufactured the product in less than a day, with the help of a 3D printer.

Now the department is offering to share the design of the product with others who feel it could assist in the current crisis.

Roger O’Brien, Head of AMAP, said: “We developed this device, which attaches to door handles, and allows you to open the door without the handle touching your hand. The forearm is used instead.

“With the use of 3D printers here at the University we were able to quickly manufacture the product and we feel it could in some way assist in the current climate.

“We are happy to share the designs and are not in this for any commercial gain but rather to support the ongoing efforts.

“A part was printed in two hours and 30 minutes on our most basic 3D printer, one of our Ultimakers, using a tough PLA filament. That particular design fits a 20mm diameter door handle.

“If designers wish to manufacture their own, that’s fine, or we are willing to print more of different sizes for material cost only.”

Some of the devices are currently attached to the handles of the AMAP offices, allowing the handles to be operated by arm rather than hand.

Roger added: “We have also developed a door opener that can be attached to a lanyard which operates in a similar way.”

The personal door opener can be laser cut or 3D printed and the design is available in both formats depending what technology people have access too.

Anyone interested in using the designs or finding out more can contact AMAP on 515 3888 or amap.enquiries@sunderland.ac.uk