Senior Project Advisor

Paula Airth

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2020


COVID, pandemic, soap, dispenser, design, coronavirus, COVID-19, public, commercial, hygiene, hygienic practices


During the last quarter of 2019, a collection of unusual pneumonia cases went from a local concern to a global pandemic in a matter of 70 days. The infamous Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the virus that was first reported in Wuhan, China on December 31, 2019,and was announced as a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. [1]

The virus has propelled the entire globe into a state of panic as the Covid-19 disease-spread has been quick and relentless. With panic setting in full-force, one phrase has been repeated over-and-over: 洗你的手. помой свои руки. Lava tus manos. 손을 씻으십시오. Lavati le mani. Cuci tanganmu. was je handen. WASH YOUR HANDS.

Media outlet after media outlet has echoed the CDC’s calls to action.[2] Aside from wearing masks, doctors and researchers have claimed that proper hand washing could help flatten the curve in areas that have been hit the hardest. The United States, Spain, and Italy are leading the world with the most Covid-19 cases, with the US taking first at 424,945 confirmed positive results and 12,902 deaths. [3]

The issue with relying on hand washing to help flatten the curve is the simple fact that many do not wash their hands properly.[4] The goal of the project was to create a user-friendly device that corrects our hygienic routines, which could hopefully help prevent or sideline future pandemics.

The project looked at current soap dispenser designs and worked to improve the design feature to enhance the cleansing experience. The research and analysis of the survey studies showed the public would be more receptive to devices that correct our hand washing habits in public venues. Several styles were sketched and refined in order to narrow down the aesthetic—a square shaped unit that is both modern and utilitarian. After making a cardboard prototype of the dispenser and testing the function and scale, it was further refined to meet user needs. The soap dispenser is equipped with a hands-free proximity sensor that triggers the soap to dispense, while timing the user’s handwashing for precisely 20 seconds, as recommended by the CDC. The dispenser features two timers for full accessibility, as required in public restrooms. There is an audio timer that increases in volume intensity to ensure the user will remain for the entire duration of the time, as well as a set of 5 lights to time 4 second intervals each.





Subjects - Topical (LCSH)

COVID-19 (Disease)--Prevention--Needs assessment; Hand washing--Health aspects; Bathrooms--Sanitation--Economic aspects; Containers--Sanitation


presentations (communicative events)




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