Frequently Asked questions
During the COVID-19 pandemic I observed how people interact with objects differently than before. I noticed how difficult was to open doors, press buttons, operate with push and pull interactions that normally are easy to perform in the public space.
With the spread of the virus, people became more concerned about contracting the infection through direct contact with objects around. It is known that people can become infected by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, and then by touching your mouth, nose, or eyes (Link).
One further aspect to take in to consideration is that studies have shown that the COVID-19 virus can survive for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel, less than 4 hours on copper and less than 24 hours on cardboard (Link).
Some attempt has been made already to help people with creative solutions to prevent a large spread of the virus. I was amazed when I saw the first “Forearm door handle adaptor” (Link), and also the “Hands-Free 3D-Printed Door Openers” (Link). However, by analyzing and using their design I found that improvements could have been done. Mounting a door opener to an existing handle is a quite technical process that requires abilities, skills and several tools. You need to 3D print it of course, you need to get screws, bolts a screwdriver, or zip ties and possibly some rubber band to prevent the 3D printed device to slip over the handle and then finally you could install it. You should then potentially install the door opener on all handles in the world, because if we skip even one, then the solution wouldn’t be as effective as designers thought it was. I love the idea of opening doors with the elbow, however don’t we feel that is an unnatural position for the human body to open it?
Wouldn’t you still use your hand to open a door when you see a device like the forearm door opener?
Also, there have been a lot of suggestions from several authorities to sneeze in to your elbow (Link), if you don’t have napkins. Then if we are going to open the handle with our elbow, possibly infected, wouldn’t we spread the virus more and more, rather than simply touching the handle with our hands and then wash them?
Right, but then we still have the problem that we should remember to avoid touching our face with our dirty hands, so that means wash the hands frequently, every time we touch something.
One last constraint I found among these door handles is that their flexibility is pretty limited. They are specifically designed for two types of handles (that normally are not so much present in public spaces). What about the other hundreds of different handle shapes we encounter in everyday life?
All these usability constraints interacting with objects outside of our home (place where we can normally sanitize and keep it under cleanliness check) made me think.
So, I decided to shift the focus, from the handle to the user. That’s why I decided to design a personal device, open source, free to use and to make that people can carry with them and use every day.
How can I use Handy?
There is no unique answer, my suggestion is to use your own creativity to use Handy tool as you wish.
I can only suggest you some examples that I found useful for the design process.
Wearing gloves is often problematic, because as this video (Link) explains, we can easily get infected, just because we simply touch so many different objects with gloves.
Using napkins is a great idea, a part from having a new napkin always available in our pocket or bag when we encounter an object to interact with, knowing where we can dispose them just after their use and making sure we can be environmental-friendly and use less disposable goods.
Using elbows to open doors is not always an effective solution. Sometimes we can, other times the handle is not designed to offer this opportunity. A part from hygiene constraints (as I mentioned in the previous question) using the elbow is an unnatural movement, so we need to get used to interact with doors and handles in that way. Regarding other objects such as buttons, we might experience limited capability to press and point exactly the button we want to select (imagine at an ATM or elevator).
You can use Handy to open or close doors, press buttons, interact with objects that need to be pushed or pulled, to potentially carry shopping bags and my suggestion is: use your creativity, reinvent uses for Handy.
Handy is not designed for interacting with door knobs why?
Simply because knobs are used mostly within private houses, where the chances to get infected are much lower than in public spaces. In public buildings regulations suggest to use mostly hardware that can be operated with a loose grip or closed fist, such as lever-shaped handles and U-shaped pulls, accommodating the largest range of users (Link). That’s why Handy works perfectly with most types of push pull doors in public spaces and buildings.
As suggested by this guide (Link) developed by the Biosecurity Research Initiative at St Catharine’s College - University of Cambridge, at point 2.4 they suggest to design systems to reduce shared contact with objects, at point 2.5 they recommend to use tools to avoid direct contact with possibly contaminated items and at point 2.7 they suggest to reduce touching objects with palm and especially fingers.
I believe Handy would be a tangible open source solution that encompasses the suggestions given by the BIORISC initiative.
How can I get Handy?
Handy is founded on the principle of being open source, which means that basically everybody can get it. For free.
Handy can be 3D printed at home, printed via online 3D printing service, can be laser cut, or made with CNC machining. Making it is completely at your own expenses and risk. As I believe in the ability of people to be creative and be makers, I suggest to try to unleash your creative potential by make it by your own, with your family members, with your kids by using recyclable material, and creative resources. You can cut and glue layers of cardboard together, you can reuse plastic, you can create your own Handy tool and personalize as you want. Download an example of DIY instructions here.
If I want to 3D print it, can you give me more information?
Sure. Handy was made for the first time by cardboard (the first prototype) and then further versions 3D printed.
You can download the STL file here and decide to print with your own 3D printer at home or using an online 3D printing service. I cannot suggest any, but if you Google “3D printing service” you’ll get what you need, delivered to your home in a few hours or days.
For who has a 3D printer, here the 3D printing settings.
Feel free to adapt, modify and experiment with your own 3D printer.
Molding technology: FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling)
Printer: Creality CR-10S Pro
Nozzle size: 100μm – 1.0mm
Filament diameter: 1.75mm
Material: eSun PLA+ (Grey)
Suggested material: ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) or PLA (Polylactide)
One last information about the material: while we have a large choice of conventional and affordable printable materials, I found that brass or copper (link) have antimicrobial properties. It would be a good idea to experiment it.
How can I carry and sanitize Handy?
I received many questions about this topic.
You can carry Handy as you like. The little hole at the top allows you to insert a keychain and carry with your keys or just with a key hook for your trousers. You can carry in to your pocket in a jacket or jeans, in to your bag, shopping bag or backpack.
I found useful to take with me a small Ziploc bag so I can carry Handy when is used and dirty in it and don’t contaminate other objects I have in my backpack. However, I think it is pretty cool and easy to carry it outside of your bag or trousers with a key hook or a little carabiner.
Talking about cleaning it. Well I’d say exactly as you would sanitize your hands, your phone, your keys and many other objects. Handy is a tool that prevent you to directly and repeatedly touch surfaces with your hands. In fact, you always would use Handy from its own 2-hole grip, which is pretty far from the part that touches the door, button or handle.
Once you have used it, for example, during your errands outside of your home, you can spray hand sanitizer on it or wash it at home and let it dry.
What I should or shouldn’t expect from Handy?
Handy is designed with the heart, shared all over the world.
All products and files you can find here are prototypes and should be treated as such. No responsibility can be attributed for any injury or damage caused by their use. The inventor is not liable or responsible for any trademark, use or misuse of the name, the tool, any part or any other information related to it. The prototypes don't constitute a PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) or a medical/surgical device.
The content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).