Door Handle Uses Recovered Energy to Power Pathogen-Killing UV Light
Sum Ming Wong and Kin Pong Li, two students from Hong Kong, recently took second place at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in the materials science category for their self-sanitizing door handle. Though activities like regular hand-washing are essential for protecting oneself from infection, fewer bugs will spread if they’re stopped at the point of contact – one primary point of contact being door handles. The invention consists of glass tubing coated in titanium dioxide with an LED in one end and brackets which allow the components to attach to a door as a handle. Electricity, which the door handle requires to power the germ-killing UV light central to its function, is generated by a gear box which captures the energy created by the opening and closing of the door; this energy being then stored in a battery. Tests showed the door handle coating to be 99.8 percent effective at killing germs on its surface, meaning that one day a version of this technology could be implemented in doctor’s offices and hospitals, reducing dependency on alcohol-based hand washes and preventing the rise of resistant strains of bacteria.