Self-disinfecting door handles are becoming reality

·1-min read

A Swiss start-up has created a solution to help prevent the spread of covid-19 in communal buildings or businesses -- self-cleaning door handles. This innovation, set to launch in 2021, could become a key tool to help curb the pandemic, as researchers have shown that the virus could remain on door handles for up to three days.

Since the onset of the pandemic, some people started using their keys or elbows to press elevator buttons or their bus pass to open door trains to limit touching potentially infected surfaces, however, traditional door handles are trickier to open with your elbow.

Tweaq, a Swiss team of researchers specialized in contact-less technology, designed this new system, which can be adapted to most types of door handles. The system integrates a pump that brings disinfectant from the casing to a sponge inside the ring around the door handle. The system is activated when someone opens or closes the door, automatically driving the aluminium ring backwards and forwards along the surface. Tweaq states that 99.9% of the germs are removed in the disinfection process, and that the system activates in less than three minutes after someone touched the door handle.

The ring, powered by lithium-ion batteries, can disinfect the handle around 1000 times before running out of liquid. The smart system lets users know via a smartphone application when to change the disinfectant cartridge. Tweaq also chose to look to the circular economy so that the cartridges don't end up in the trash. When the cartridge runs out, the empty one can be sent back in exchange for a full one. The system also provides data about the handle, how many times it was touched and when handle use peaked during the day.