Muthu Vignesh Vellayappan, a Ph.D. student at Monash University in Australia has come up with a unique ‘Safety key’ that will prevent people from making physical contact with door handles, lift button, ATMs or even a toilet flush, in a bid to contain the novel coronavirus from spreading.
Few major hospitals in Australia have already started using it. The 3D- printed key allows people to open doors and push-buttons.
Vellayappan shared the making of the product on his Twitter page and ever since he has been flooded with requests from across the country. He says till now, he has got around 450 calls from across countries enquiring about the product.
He added that most of the people who enquired about his product belong to vulnerable sectors like old-age people, those living with cancer who doesn’t want to take any risks of getting infected by the virus.
Are you opening doors or pressing lift buttons with the fear of getting COVID19? I have a solution for you. I have designed, optimized, 3D printed & tested this "Safety key" for multiple non-contact applications! @Cameron_grp @monashengineers @MonashUni #3Dprinting #COVID19Aus pic.twitter.com/QFCOqBTku4
— email@example.com (@Muthu3DPrinting) April 2, 2020
After seeing various videos online about how people sneeze, cough, and make physical contact with doorknobs, lift buttons, or otherwise trying to open doors with Elbows, Vellayappan had decided to produce a device that will minimize our exposure to contaminated surfaces.
He designed a simple tool using a 3D printer and did a dry run at the University. After designing the key, he converted that into a language that the 3D printer understands and came up with the product.
“The first model I designed was as big as a brick. So I reworked on it and made sure it is suitable for L-Shaped door handles in universities, Hospitals, Malls, etc. I ran it through Prof. Neil Cameron, head of the Department of Material Science and Engineering at the University. After getting his feedback, I made further adjustments. It will take two hours to design a single key, I made 15 and to the University staff and student who are still working in research centers. Then I made 10 more copies and gave it to the front-line health care workers. Most of them gave positive feedback, the university was happy with my product,” he said.
He added that during an interview with a local channel, he gave the product for the anchor for testing. “She was holding her mike with the help of the ‘Special Key’. That’s the specialty of this product, It can be used in various places in various ways,” Muthu added.
The 32-year-old, who hails from Madurai in Tamil Nadu said his family were delighted after the news about his product went viral across social media.
“They were happy, few of my friends who I haven’t’ had spoken in the past six or seven years called me and said they are proud; It was surreal,” he said.
The design hasn’t been patented yet. Vellayappan feels it will take more than two-three months for the entire process and by the time, the situation might go worse. He is happy to give away the design for anyone to make use of it to address the crisis immediately and even open to teach others who possess a 3D printer. “I didn’t design this product to earn money, I want to help people during the crisis,” he said.
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