Mumbai: Three postgraduates come up with tool that can sanitise your hand each time it is about an inch from your face

Mumbai: With coronavirus proving to be the great leveller in these times, given its all-inclusive reach, one is struck with the urge to clasp one's face in one's hands ever so often, which, as all of us have categorically been told, is a big no-no. Yet, mistakes will happen and a hand or two will stray towards the face several times in a day. Bearing this in mind, three young inventors have devised a gadget which makes this 'journey' safer, by sanitising your hand first. 

They have come up with a 'hand sanitisation band' (HSB), which sanitises a user's hand just before it touches their face. The inventors feel their device is handy enough to be worn daily and could reduce the risk of infection up to 60 per cent.

The brains behind this device is Susmita Shreedhar Gudulkar, who holds a Master's in Botany. "We all know that infections enter the body through the mouth or nose, though that risk is minimised with the usage of a mask. But what happens if a person touches their face with their hand? Ever since the outbreak, people have understood the importance of hygiene and have been regularly sanitising their hands. But the possibility of touching the face accidentally still remains and therefore, the risk of getting infected. So we decided to develop an automated tool to help counter this threat," said Susmita. 

The HSB has two main parts, a controller and a sanitiser box. The controller, which works on Artificial Intelligence (AI), is fitted with a camera. Meant to be worn on the dominant hand, each time the hand reaches six centimetres near the face, the controller alerts the sanitiser box, which is fitted with a small motor which sprays sanitiser on the user's hand. The box is good for 25 sprays and can be refilled with any brand of hand sanitiser, say the inventors.

"Our instrument's success rate is around 60 per cent but we have just built a prototype with the limited equipment available during lockdown. If a government or a private company were to come forward, then its accuracy and usability could be improved greatly, along with its portability," said Jatin Kadge, a final year MSc (Physics) student who developed the software and hardware for the tool.

The creation of the prototype cost the trio around Rs 4,000 but on a commercial basis, that price could come down below Rs 2,000, they assure. 

"Frankly speaking, currently our device is quite bulky. But we already have plans for an upgrade and with support, we could make it look trendier as well," said the third inventor Ashish Pathak, who is also a final-year MSc physics student.

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