Published: 12th June 2020
This Gujarat techie has created touchless elevator panels to curb the spread of COVID-19. Here's how it works
The touchless elevator panels use a sensor which enables people to just place their palm below it to call the elevator or point their finger towards a floor number to take them to the designated floor
Inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Vocal For Local call recently and his longstanding Make in India campaign, this software engineer from Surat, Gujarat has created touchless, contactless elevator panels to help reduce the spread of the Coronavirus. Bhavin Ahir, who has been running Techmax Solutions since 2009, has named his innovation Sparshless (sparsh means touch).
How does it work? By using sensors that detect your finger coming near it. There are two units of Sparshless — a unit outside the lift with the up and down call symbols and an inside panel with floor numbers. "Our units use a sensor that is fitted inside which allows the device to get the signal when you put your palm below it or direct your finger towards a floor number from a distance of 15-20 mm without touching it." Here's the best part, though. "These panels go along with the already existing lift panels, thus enabling customers to take it off when they do not require it and want to use the regular touch buttons available in elevators," explains Bhavin.
The outside elevator panel
Bhavin says their innovation does not use high-end tech, which makes it affordable. "This is a unique product because the other innovations that have come up to help decrease the spread of COVID-19 by touching surfaces typically have to be connected to your smartphones, or scan some QR code or install an app for the mechanism or the tech in such products to work. There might be privacy issues related to such products. We also thought about people who don't have phones or internet connection, so our product is simple to use and has nothing of that sort. Any elevator company or any person can use it," adds Bhavin. The touchless elevator panels are made in such a way that we do not need to touch the call lift buttons outside or even the floor number buttons placed inside the lifts.
What is the need for a contactless elevator during the COVID-19 pandemic? According to research, there might be 3500 bacteria per square inch on a lift button. Some recent studies have also pointed out that an elevator button has almost 40 times higher number of bacteria on them when compared to a toilet seat. There are elevators everywhere — multistorey apartments, commercial complexes, hospitals, malls, restaurants, etc. People use elevators for convenience almost every day. If there happens to be any COVID-19 infected person who has used an elevator and then it is being used by others, there is a high chance of virus spread. "Currently, a lot of people are using sticks, vehicle keys, lighters, etc to press the elevator buttons. With Sparshless, they wouldn't have the need to carry these items or the fear of contracting the infection by touching a surface," adds Bhavin.
Currently, the outside panel is priced at Rs 1650. There are a total of four variants for the inside panel including a 14-button touchless panel, eight-button and four-button. The 14-button panel is priced at Rs 9999.