Students at the Islamic University in Uganda have developed a hands-free hand-washer to promote safe hygiene and save water during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The two students, Lucky Mwaka and Mansoor Muhammad, work at the university’s research and innovations laboratory.
Their idea is aimed at using technology to minimise contact with potentially contaminated surfaces in low-income settings.
“We thought of a way to draw water without having to open and close the taps. This is for people who use soap and water separately or those who do prior mixing of the disinfectant with water,” Umar Yahya, their lecturer and team leader, told the BBC.
“This can be fitted on any water container; a jerrycan, tank or tin, depending on what one can afford.”
The invention works using sensors and a solar battery-powered controller.
“Water is dispensed when hands are in close proximity with the tap, and closed when hands are moved away. So in cases where water is scarce, you use exactly what you need to wash your hands. The hands-free washer is made from a plastic bottle, and so is the tap”, Mwaka explains.
The device, which costs about $24 to produce, is so far being used at the university campus in Kibuli, Kampala, and the team is in the process of producing six more, which will be used at their countryside campuses.