HomeBuildingsCovid-fighting IoT-powered self-disinfecting door handles are coming

Covid-fighting IoT-powered self-disinfecting door handles are coming

A Swiss startup has produced a self-disinfecting door handle that integrates an IoT module and platform to count and monitor usage, and signal for refills. The product, available in 2021 features an “electric engine”, a printed circuit board, and a lithium battery, alongside the connectivity module. It allows for more than 1,000 uses per cartridge, and is being presented as a means for enterprises to get staff back into the workplace in the Covid-19 era.

The firm, called Tweaq, said the product, called Tweaq Touch 1, can be installed on “standard doors” in 10 minutes; replacement casings, containing refillable disinfectant cartridges with rechargeable batteries, can be swapped out in 30 seconds, it said. Empty casings / cartridges are returned to the company for refilling and recharging.

A motion sensor awakens the PCB when the door handle is used, and triggers the disinfection process. The electric engine powers a ‘magnetic ring’ containing a disposable sponge irrigated with antibacterial solution, which disinfects the door handle’s surface in about three seconds.

The IoT module counts daily usage, and links with a dashboard to provide users with usage and maintenance analytics for whole buildings; it issues an alert when a cartridge needs replacing. An LED lights-up on the casing as well, when top-ups are needed. The device is being offered in the UK for £399 for two handles (for two sides of one door); cartridge refills are at £39 each, and on subscription to businesses.

Tweaq said it has done some research; touching one door handle is the equivalent of 10,000 handshakes, and an office of 80 people can be infected from one contaminated door handle in two hours. The company’s disinfection process kills 99.99 percent of bacteria and viruses, apparently.

It offers some back-of-the-envelope maths, as well: a restaurant with 250 visitors a day sees about half of them, typically, use the bathroom, which equates to 40,000 handle-turns each year. A professional cleaning service to disinfect door handles would work out at $2.90 per day, it said, switching to dollars, compared with $1.40 per day (“plus the initial investment”) with its self-cleaning door handles – which adds up to a saving of $500 a year.

Giovanni Barilla, chief executive at Tweaq, said: “The world is changing mindset and attitude to investing in hygiene has completely transformed… Our product combines hardware and software technology to provide an effective and reliable solution that not only protects people but can save businesses money in the long run.”

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