This project's funding goal was not reached on May 25, 2014.
This project's funding goal was not reached on May 25, 2014.
A special thanks goes to the fine people at the Maker Foundation who permit inventors (makers) like me to introduce our ideas to the world.
Every Public Restrooom Needs These Touchless Hand Washer-Dryers
"Many public bathrooms already have faucets, soap dispensers, and hand dryers that can operate hands-free. But the Robo-washer combines all of them into a single unit that you can stick dirty hands into and have them come out perfectly clean.
Everything inside the Robo-washer is touch-free as well. So you don't have to worry about a bunch of brushes scrubbing and scraping your hands all up. Instead, high-powered jets spray soap and water onto your dirty mitts, cleaning them as you move them around inside the machine. And then when all the soap and dirt has been rinsed off, air jets dry your hands in no time flat.
Not only can you squeeze more of these machines into a public restroom, reducing lineups, having everything contained in the box eliminates countertops that are usually completely flooded.
It also helps guarantee someone's hands actually get properly cleaned since you have to wait for the scrubbing cycle to finish before the dryers kick in. Which makes it perfect for restaurant staff and other employees who handle food."
Conventional devices used to wash and dry hands all have one thing in common they waste tremendous amounts of water, a precious natural resource important the world round
Conventional hand devices are not flexible to permit their use outdoors and in mobile applications.
Kids don't enjoy washing their hands using these conventional devices since they are height disadvantaged.
The conventional sink with its flat surfaces permit water and soap to collect atop the counter, thus wasting water and soap. If no paper towels are available, as is the case where hot air hand dryers are present, there is no way for patrons of an establishment to clean up the mess.
water and soap, if left to collect, can spill onto the floor possibly resulting in a slip and fall accident
We drip water onto the floor as we transition our hands from being rinsed in the sink to drying beneath a hot air hand dryer. Drying our hands beneath a hot air hand dryer forces water from our hands onto the floor. This contributes to the growth of mold and the likelihood of a slip and fall accident.
Due to the placement of paper towel dispensers opposite sinks, we drip water onto the floor as we transition our hands from being rinsed in the sink to drying with paper towels. Often times we walk into a restroom where paper towel dispensers are in use and we see a pile of paper towels overflowing from waste bins onto the floor. Since the waste bin is full we just keep throwing paper towels onto the floor, resulting in an unsightly mess and a potential slip and fall incident resulting in possible law suit.
"In order to combat the problem of forcing water to the floor from a hot air hand dryer and to eliminate the need for inefficient electric heating coils, several manufacturers have developed products that force high velocity air over the hands, some collecting the water in a bottom reservoir".
The Dyson unit is equipped with no water catch bin. What happens to the water that is sheared from your hands?
In order to accelerate the air to high velocity, the motors which move the fans are run at very high speeds resulting in a very high pitched shrill that is extremely loud, so loud in fact that some people experience discomfort.
A quote taken from Tech Radar.com who had a go at using The Dyson Tap.
"So what was it like to use? The first time we used it, it was much like when we used an Airblade for the first time – slightly confusing. Do you move your hands rapidly? Where is best to put them? With the tap, you first rub your hands together under the central stem, which leads to infrared sensors knowing your hands are in place and then flowing water over them.
Once your hands are wet and you want to dry them, integrated circuitry is supposed to know this, and activates the motor, emitting the two high velocity sheets of air from the tap's handlebars to dry your hands in 12 seconds.
However, we found the transition from wash to dry a little patchy, and the water continued flowing once despite us removing our hands (the caveat was, of course, that we were trying a prototype according to Dyson's representatives). You also have to hold your hands out flat and wait for the dryer to start – this is fine, but it will require a bit of work for people to get used to it.
you also can't choose to have the water flow or drying time for a set number of seconds".
While in Japan,I happened upon an establishment where breakfast was being served. Below the counter I noticed a very small sink. Above and to the sides of the sink were a paper towel dispenser and a soap dispenser. I wondered why the sink was placed where customers had access to it. It was when I walked into the restroom to wash my hands and was overcome by a foul odor that it became immediately apparent that the tiny sink was for people to wash their hands without the need to enter a restroom. I then began to mentally analyze this sink and thought they hadn't taken things far enough.
If we combined sink faucet, soap dispenser and dryer into one, what would be the advantages and disadvantages? Placing this thought at the back of my mind I carried on throughout my day. Later, I analyzed the motions taken when washing my hands in a public restroom. I concluded that much water and soap is wasted when washing and rinsing our hands. Even though devices had been devised to prevent such wastage, they were not as effective as they should be.
More emphasis was being placed on hands free operation that on conserving water. Delving further into my analysis of conventional hand washing technologies, I uncovered many more issues, all of which I thought could be resolved with this new concept of mine. I thought about what the device would look like, how it would function and how users would interact with it to control it and receive information from it. In my mind I could see water running over top my hands using the conventional sink with faucet placed above the bowl.
Both the water and soap could be dispensed in a 360 degree pattern surrounding one's hands. This, I thought could lessen the amount of water and soap needed to clean and rinse one's hands as well as the time taken to ensure that one's hands are thoroughly covered. I further surmised that the water and soap being dispensed in this 360 degree pattern could be of sufficient pressure to knock the dirt, and grime from the hands. That alone however, would not be enough as one would need to rub their hands together to further facilitate removal.
In my device one could wash their hands as they have been taught by their parents and caregivers to do. Therefore no prior instruction is needed. I then began to analyze the motions taken when I wash my hands and transition to the dryer. I realized that I first shake my hands to remove excess water prior to moving from the sink to the hand dryer. So, I am splashing and wasting water. In my journey to the dryer water drips from my hands onto the floor.
If the dryer was inside, shaking one's hands in the sink prior to drying would not be an issue since the water being shaken from one's hands would simply pass down the drain.
If fully automatic, being controlled by microprocessor, many more advantages would come to light. I now had devised a device that is truly ground breaking. All the user would have to do is place their hands in the device, rub their hands together and the machine would do the rest. This could actually entice people into washing their hands.
Since the device is fully automatic, the person's hands are washed thoroughly with the proper hand washing technique and duration. Once I arrived home back in the U.S.A. I began specifying the components to build the first prototype. The goal was to first perform some experiments to determine if such a concept was indeed feasible from a technical standpoint.
After specifying the components needed, I decided my goal was to have the device sense one's hands then dispense water in a 360 degree pattern. I decided to substitute my bathroom sink with a plastic bucket. I purchased a controller and began wiring the various components including the infrared sensor to the controller. Once everything was wired and plumbing was complete, I programmed the controller to sense my hands dispense water and turn off the water when my hands were removed. I further programmed the controller to simulate dispensing of the soap. Ready for the first test
I placed my hands inside; the water was dispensed enveloping my hands in a 360 degree pattern. I used a bar of soap to lather my hands then rinsed before removing my hands after which the unit automatically cycled off. I was elated even though my hands were sopping wet. I next installed the drying section of my device, programmed the controller and placed my hands inside. This time my hands were washed,rinsed and well the drying part didn't work so well as even after 3 minutes of drying, my hands were still wet. The device was also far from splash free. The next thing on the agenda was to design a way to tell the user to move their hands to the center of the device and keep them there for the duration of operation until such time their hands were thoroughly dried.
I wanted the device to be intuitive and for me that meant that the user be given no prior instruction. I have done it numerous times in graphics developed for touch screen interfaces. Could I now do the equivalent, this time in hardware?
The user's hands would need to be somehow guided as if by an external force. I thought of conventional devices that we place our hands into the center of. I recalled the garbage cans of my youth which had an opening toward the center for passage of garbage. I then performed an online search trying to find a suitable garbage can. All I needed was a lid to fit the outside diameter of my bucket. After an exhaustive internet search, I gave up on finding a garbage can and began thinking about what I might have around the house that could serve as the lid. I first looked in the obvious places; garage work shop, basement then worked my way to the kitchen. Upon opening a drawer I saw it. There it was,
a shiny metal salad bowl perfect for my experiment. I quickly hid the bowl from my wife. All I had to do was mill a hole in the bottom of the bowl large enough to place ones hands through yet providing enough surface area to eliminate splashing. Later that week I had the bowl machined to my measurements and fitted the bowl (dome) to the bucket with duct tape. It wasn't pretty but it would serve the purpose.
I had to somehow sense my hands as they entered the dome. I was concerned that a diffuse infrared sensor might not work since the beam may be reflected by the shiny interior of the dome. Again I used duct tape to mount the sensor to the inside of the dome. I passed my hand through the sensor.
After a few tweaks to the sensor gain trim pot it was working flawlessly. The next test was partially successful as the dome naturally guided my hands to the center of the bucket. It did not however eliminate splashing, nor did it result in my hands being dried. Oh well back to the drawing board I would go.
Three weeks prior to Robo-Washer's unveiling at Maker Faire NY 2013, I decided it was now or never and I was going to unveil My revolutionary device at Maker Faire. I had four years to think about the design, solving issues mentally, along the way. It was time to put my theories to practice.
I must have been crazy given all of the issues I was faced with. In addition to it being, fully automatic, splash free, touch free, and able to wash rinse and dry one's hands, it also had to be self cleaning and it had to inform the user as to its operational status.
It had to function with no indoor water supply or indoor plumbing. The device would do all of this while being powered with 120Vac and do it outdoors under a tent at Maker Faire. The task to some may have seemed insurmountable but I was determined to accomplish my goals. The road to maker Faire was filled with excitement.
There were many nights working past 3:00 AM in order to meet the deadline.At 1:00 AM on September 1st 2013 Robo-Washer was fully tested.
I had met all of my goals and I was spent mentally and physically, I went to bed that morning at 12:30 AM. At 4:00 AM I was on the road with Robo-Washer. That day, Robo-Washer along with my other inventions presented, was a huge hit.
Droves of men, women and children lined up all day long to have their hands washed saying "can I wash my hands too? I replied with a huge smile on my face of course you can that is what it's for, wash rinse and dry fully automatically splash free and the rest as they say is history.
In many developing countries and poor regions of the world there are those of us who do not have the luxury of washing our hands, something that we in the developed countries take for granted. Resulting from the inability to wash ones hands, are deadly diseases that quickly spread through villages throughout the world resulting in wide spread death. Robo-Washer could be the life saving instrument, permitting our less fortunate friends to wash their hands as it can be made to run from solar cells and filter water that it consumes, since it requires no indoor water supply or plumbing, Robo-Washer can be placed outdoors, powered by an automotive battery while a second battery is charged by solar panels.
Robo-Washer can easily be modified for use in both stationary and mobile applications. It can operate in conjunction with indoor plumbing or without, respectively.
Medical Industry: Hospitals, Doctor’s offices, to be used by surgeons prior and after surgery, waiting rooms, kitchens, cafeterias,
Military and Civilian: Mash units, mess tents, aircraft, submarines, marine vessels, rescue and leisure boats,
Fast Food Industry Hotels: restrooms, dining areas (due to compact size can be placed inside walls much like a drinking fountain)
Entertainment Industry: Outdoor concerts, Public parks, amusement parks, water parks and petting zoos.
Automotive Industry: conversion van tour bus, tractor trailer, Recreational Vehicle (RV)
Laboratory and Clean Rooms: used both before and after gowning
Portable Toilets: The standalone version of ROBO-WASHER can be placed outside the portable toilets to permit people exiting these to wash, rinse and dry their hands. All that is needed is a power source consisting of 120Vac 60HZ cycle.
It is the aim of this project to raise the funds necessary to further develop the Robo-Washer by making necessary improvements to make it greater than it now is.
The prototype unveiled at Maker Faire NY 2013 was 35"H x 18"w x 22" D. A further goal is to reduce its size in each dimension.
The devices that control the various parts of Robo-Washer are mounted onto a metal plate using DIN rail. The DIN Rail supports various industrial control components such as terminal blocks, relays, opto-isolators etc. Wire and cables are then connected between various control components and other off circuit electrical and electronic components. I plan to place these inside a water proof enclosure to prevent damage to sensitive electrical and electronic components. The touch screen (not needed) and integral controller located at the front of the Robo-Washer Proof of concept prototype is an expensive component. I plan to replace this with an inexpensive yet highly capable programmable logic Controller which will be mounted also inside the water proof enclosure. The same was used in testing the first prototype.
One aspect of the current devices we use to wash our hands is very annoying to me. What am I talking about the fact that none of these so called modern devices let you know at a glance whether or not they are operable or out of order. I plan to fit Robo-Washer with a light ring designed to glow with different colors to indicate its status. You will know at a glance whether or not Robo-Washer can be used. This also ensures that restroom attendants are immediately made aware that Robo-Washer is low on soap for example or that Robo-Washer has detected that there is no water being supplied
The current design positions the bowl in an upright position making it somewhat uncomfortable for users to place their hands inside while standing over the device. The next iteration of Robo-Washer will address this, as seen in the figures below
Passive Water Heater
I would like to develop a passive means to heat the water for outdoor use. This will be accomplished using what already exists within the interior of the current Robo-Washer. I could explain how I will accomplish this but then you'd quickly dismiss the idea, so I will keep that to myself for now. This same device will serve to rejuvenate the water by working with nature instead of against it.
An advanced much improved version of the Robo-Washer that appears in the video and is pictured above will be offered for sale through this kickstarter campaign.
I will look to the kickstarter community for suggestions as to how it can be improved and hope to gain the knowledge necessary to completely satisfy all who pledge their support. During this campaign I will personally provide project updates to show our progress in the areas of design improvements, manufacturing and logistics. All are invited to take part in this exciting journey. Together we will accomplish our goals.
Robo-Washer will be manufactured in our modern production facility in Randolph NJ, USA, using as much made in America parts as possible in an effort to sustain and create jobs here in The United States of America.
The risks are minimal in that despite reaching the goal of this kickstarter campaign Robo-Washer will continue to be improved upon through further development. The inventor has other means to gain funding and will aggressively pursue any avenue possible including other crowd funding sites and the sale of the inventor's own possessions.
All that is planned for improving Robo-Washer is feasible as it uses mostly off the shelf components cleverly put to use. Being a perfectionist, it is my hope that Robo-Washer will receive additional help from you to wash and dry the worlds hands and in doing so prevent the spread of disease while preserving water a precious natural resource that sustains the lives of all of us.
operating between 70 and 75 decibels and a peak at cut off (system shut off) of 84 db. Normal conversation volume is at 70db while a raised voice is at 76 db. This is why you can carry on a conversation at normal conversation volume while the Robo-Washer is in operation.
Robo-Washer is Hand Washing Reinvented
- (25 days)