Teachers at Columbus High School are now required to sanitize their students’ hands during the four minute passing period. Mr. Whitmore, an engineering teacher, worked a solution to this new demand for teachers by creating an automatic hand sanitizer in his classroom. Mr. Whitmore had many ideas on how to create an automatic hand sanitizer, but in the end he decided to go with this one because “. . .it would be the most cost efficient, and the least likely to cause a fire.”
The automatic hand sanitizer works like this: an ultrasonic sensor under the box detects the movement of a hand coming near it. Once it senses motion, the sensor sends a message to the Arduino board, basically the brain of the machine. The Arduino board turns on for 350 milliseconds, activating the pump, dumping hand sanitizer out of the bottle and down to the sprayer.
It took Mr. Whitmore three weeks to design and build this machine. He used many materials that were lying around the classroom, a few had to be bought off the shelf, and one customized block. He had to customize the block in order to fit the sprayer in the bottom, and the hose in the top.
He is satisfied with how it turned out, and a few of the other STEM teachers will be using his design to build their own hand sanitizing machines. Only one change will be made. The ultrasonic sensor will be moved from under the box to under the plate so it will detect when you move your hands up to the bottom of the machine instead of in from the side, making it easier for students to use.
If you ever find yourself in the STEM Wing of the building, do not hesitate to stop into Whitmore’s room and check out his invention. It is a successful way to hinder the spread of Covid-19 while still having some freedom during the four minute passing period. Innovations like this one are why we are still able to have class in the classroom. Thank you Mr. Whitmore!