Since the breakout of Covid-19 in Kenya, several creative initiatives have emerged in various parts of the country as young people find innovative ways to defeat the novel coronavirus.
From designing of ventilators by Kenyatta University students, production of sanitizers by Masinde Muliro University to making of facemasks and Personal Protective Equipment by Kitui County Textiles, no creative endeavor is being spared to help the county combat this disease.
It’s in that spirit that 22-year old Agostino Samanya from Challa village in Taita-Taveta County has designed a thermal-sensitive automated hand-washing machine that dispenses sanitiser and water to a user.
The machine uses thermal sensors that detects human-palms near and releases dollops of sanitisers for the hands. The second pair of sensor is located near the water-dispensing outlets and allows water to flow once it detects hands at the outlet.
There is strictly no touching involved with the young innovator stating it was meant to discourage people from touching surfaces; potential transmission areas.
“All you have to do is bring your hands close to the sanitisers and it dispenses. If you want to use water, the sensor near the outlet allows water to flow,” he said.
He added that while other designers were focusing on foot-operated devises, his concerns for people living with disability, especially those without legs had pushed him to have a disability-friendly machine.
With locally available materials, one such devise can be put up for as little as sh 15,000. Already, one handwashing machine is serving the community at Challa Secondary School at a public handwashing point.
The machine used Arduino Pressure sensor, mortar, a programmable chip and a tangle of wires that seamlessly work to discharge sanitiser and water.
Mr. Samanya says he is optimistic of getting assistance to produce more automated hand-washing machines for use in public places.
“The virus is transmitted through contact. This machine does not require you to touch it to get sanitised,” he says.
He adds that he can make five such machines in a day but needs to get better materials to make a standard product.
“Most of the wires are exposed because I didn’t have insulators. If I get support, I can get proper materials and have a standard product,” he added.
Mr. Samanya cleared his secondary school in 2019 and says he has over 30 innovations under his name. Amongst his other creations include a customised home security system and a robot firefighter.
By Wagema Mwangi