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Smart door handles could keep you healthier

Smart door handles could keep you healthier

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While hospitals are supposed to be places for healing, many get sick just being there: the CDC estimates that one in 25 hospital patients contract an infection during their care. The British design studio Agency of Design has come up with a concept it believes can change that in PullClean, custom door handles that dispense hand sanitizer. The handle itself is nondescript, but at the bottom there's a blue area where people can pump out hand sanitizer before opening the door. It's trying to tackle illnesses like stomach flu that spread easily on surfaces — ones that people can pick up without even realizing it.

The placement of the sanitizer inside the door handle is a clever design solution, however it could easily be ignored. But the device also comes with software called CountClean that monitors how often people sanitize their hands, and the amount of hand sanitizer in the handle. That lets staff know when sanitizer packs need to be replaced, and — in theory — keep an eye on the overall cleanliness of the facility. Agency of Design has already started trials in US hospitals, and it claims rates of hand sanitizing rose from 22 to 77 percent in those trials. It plans to sell the device for $200 later this year, so we'll have to wait to see if hospitals, schools, libraries, and other places believe that proper placement and monitoring is enough to make people consistently germ-free.