UEA academics open door on infection control with new device

Published by  News Archive

On 29th Apr 2020

doormate

A group of UEA researchers, technicians and students has joined forces to create an innovative new product to support healthcare workers in the fight against COVID-19: the DoorMate™.

The team, led by Dr Aram Saeed from UEA’s School of Pharmacy, has developed the DoorMate™ a device that enables healthcare staff to get through doors and carry out other tasks without having to touch surfaces that could be contaminated.

The different surfaces on the gadget have been carefully designed to easily open different door handles and push buttons; and can also be used to type on keypads and keyboards. The handy device includes an ergonomically shaped handle for comfort and a loop for attaching it to a lanyard. 

Following testing of a prototype by Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, the device has been approved for clinical use. UEA is offering a free licence to access the design and STL details of the DoorMate™ to governments, research institutions and manufacturers to produce and supply the DoorMate™ device to health and social care organisations.

Dr Saeed said: “Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the mood within the team has been relentless to try and find solutions to new issues. We immediately started looking at a range of key items including ventilators, ventilator valves, oxygen masks, and of course face shields. We received an overwhelming response to our call out for collaborators to help us develop these items, for which we are extremely grateful.

“After reading the World Health Organisation (WHO) report on the modes of transmission of the virus, we also started to investigate a surface protective device.”

The DoorMate™ team includes Pharmacy PhD student Noelia Dominguez Falcon and first year Engineering student Alix Jenkins, as well as Dr Ali Mohammed and Dr Mahmoud Abdelhamid from the School of Pharmacy, and Laboratory Coordinator Paul Disdle.

Noelia Falcon said: “The WHO brief suggested that there may be indirect contact transmission of the virus with the surfaces or objects in infectious environments, such as hospitals. We came up with the idea of the DoorMate™ as we wanted to create a device to allow users to open doors or enter keys without touching the surfaces, thus reducing surface transmission."

Alix Jenkins, who worked on the design of the object, said: “We wanted the device to be ergonomic, easy to carry and strong enough to use with different types of doors."

Dr Mohammed added: “We opted to develop the DoorMate as a multifunctional item, essentially with a hook-end to pull or push down door handles, central part to push green-dome buttons and a straight section to allow keypad entry."

 

Fiona Lettice, Pro Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation at UEA, said: “It is inspirational to see our research staff and students collaborate to create innovative solutions to the COVID-19 crisis. This demonstrates the true value of academic research in responding in real time to real world challenges.”

Find out how to obtain the licence and download the manufacturing specifications on our website.

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