Science & Technology

WU researchers develop new inventions to protect against COVID-19

During the coronavirus outbreak, several public and private sectors, including Walailak University, wanted to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. In doing so WU has created 2 items. FaceProtect is a device that reminds you not to touch your face and was created by Associate Professor Dr. Wattanapong Kurdthongmee from the School of Engineering and Technology. The second is a rubber cup to prevent touching doorknobs and was invented by both Assistant Professor Dr. Prachid Saramolee from the School of Engineering and Technology and Miss Waluka Amaek, lecturer from the College of Graduate Studies, Walialak University.

Dr. Watthanapong has explained the ideas behind the invention, which is a device that reminds the wearer when the hand and face get too close. Viruses, bacteria, or other microbes are transmitted through mucous membranes in the mouth, nose and eyes. Microbes enter the body when you touch germ-infected surfaces and then touch your face. For this reason, this device was designed to remind you when you are going to touch your face. The device detects the movement of the hand towards the face and when the user’s hands come close to their face, the device emits a reminder. The device helps reduce face-touching, thereby reducing the risk of getting germs into the body through the nose, mouth and eyes. The device is portable and can work independently without a computer for processing. It can be used with various ages and the variety of activities. The warning device uses infrared waves to detect and compute the distance of moving objects around the face and when the hand moves closer to the face. The device will give a warning through a small speaker. This can help users to reduce the frequency or avoid touching their faces and results in breaking the cycle of receiving pathogens, both viruses and bacteria, into the body.

Regarding the new rubber cup to prevent touching doorknobs, Assistant Professor Dr. Prachid Saramolee and his research team have studied information from the Department of Medical Sciences and found that the survival period of the COVID-19 virus on a doorknob is 7-8 hours. It is possible that someone may become infected by touching a contaminated surface of a doorknob and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. Their motivation came from a case study of workers infected with COVID-19 in Bang Khun Thian District, Bangkok. Many male factory workers were infected, despite the fact that the proportion of males is less than that of females. After investigation, Covid-19 contamination was found on faucets, doorknobs, and flushers at the male toilet. In response to this study, the device to prevent infection from touching doorknobs was invented to reduce the risk of infection from touching contaminated surfaces.

“This innovation will be a personal protective device which looks like a cup made from natural rubber as a main component. The advantages of natural rubber are having high flexibility, good stickiness, and friction to turn the knob to the desired direction. It also has a high tensile strength and tear resistance. Additionally, it can be disinfected with alcohol 70%.” Dr. Prachid said.

In addition, the design of rubber cup is easy to use and compact to carry. The inside has been designed with embossed lines to firmly grasp the doorknob. This rubber cup can be used with doorknobs in an oval or round shape, as well as on window handles, faucet knobs, etc. This personal protective device can help users prevent the spread of infectious disease.

WU is applying for a petty patent for these two inventions through the Department of Intellectual Property.



Rewritten from Thai by Uraiwan Angkanawisut