Fostering good hygiene habits

Sometimes the most important innovations are not the ones with the most advanced technology or the ones that demand huge investments, but the simple ones that manage to change everyday behaviors through smart and intuitive design. Hand washing is a typical case where a simple change in behavior can have significant health effects by reducing the risk of infections. So how can we use design and technology to make people wash their hands more often?

A number of creative solutions are emerging that aim to foster good hygiene habits: from self-sterilizing door handles, which use UV light to identify bacteria, to electronic hand hygiene recording and reminding systems that remind healthcare workers to wash their hands before interacting with a patient. Other examples include an automatic hand sanitizer designed especially for kids, dispensing sanitizer in the form of soap bubbles, or STAND, a sustainable sink/urinal combination. This innovative solution reuses water from a sink above to rinse out the urinal, thus effectively reducing not only water consumption but also the materials used during the production process, while encouraging hand washing by placing the sink in the urinal user’s line of sight.

Two kids taking soap from a dispenser (photo)