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Brief Published: 31 Mar 2020

3D-Printed Add-Ons Create No-Touch Door Handles


Tests show that coronaviruses similar to Covid-19 – such as Sars – are able to survive on metal surfaces for up to nine days (Journal of Hospital Infection, 2020). The current outbreak highlights the need to redesign everyday accessories to help limit our interactions with commonly shared surfaces – like Materialise’s new touch-free door handle solution.

The German 3D-printing studio has developed an attachment that lets users open and close doors with their arms, rather than their hands. This reduces the spread of bacteria, and thus the virus, which can enter the body through the eyes or mouth when people touch their faces.

The design consists of two elements: an outward-facing wing, and a small fastening element that fits on either side of an existing lever door handle, and screws into place. The wing provides a wide surface for users to easily pull and push the door with their arm. Materialise is providing the design online for free as a digital file, so that users can print the attachment at home with a 3D-printing device.

3D printing is proving to be indispensable to production during the pandemic, as it allows companies to continue making their designs available to the public digitally. For more on how designers are using 3D-printing technologies to create fast, responsive products to serve the healthcare industry, see Designers 3D-Print Personal Protection Equipment.

In the wake of this crisis, designers will have to reconsider everyday designs through a health-focused lens, and explore how to minimise interactions with shared surfaces for bacteria-conscious consumers.