Increased awareness around germs and the transmission of viruses in the face of COVID-19 has pushed many different members of the community to new levels of innovation. Notable among them is the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) which has begun to manufacture 3D printed hands-free door handles.

The device functions by allowing the user to open and close doors using their arm as opposed to their hand. By eliminating the amount of exposed hand contact people have with shared surfaces, the possibility of spreading any kind of virus is significantly reduced.

USQ-based print and design company Ellipsis Media is building the door openers using a design sourced by the Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise (TSBE). Ellipsis Media Director Robert Keanalley said the design had been tested and used on bathroom doors across the University with great success. He said, “It’s good for the business, it’s good for the community.”

Mr Keanalley said the handles had many benefits. “It attaches to the door handle with two bolts and an inner rubber sleeve that protects and grips the handle. It is best used on vertical handles or lighter weight doors, but ideal for bathroom exits where there is a high risk of contamination with wet or unclean hands.”

TSBE Health General Manager Jaden Frame further emphasised the importance of innovating to benefit the greater community. “With door handles among some of the most germ-infested objects in all homes and businesses, doing our part to use our covered arms instead of bare hands can possibly aid in avoiding further passing on of COVID-19 and other viruses.”

USQ and Ellipsis Media have also been involved in a community-wide push to manufacture and deliver 300 face masks to health organisations.

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