IEEE volunteers at UCT develop tool for COVID-19 Spread Prevention

During this time of COVID-19, the need for a complex Multi-tool that was both simple to create and use was identified, in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19 at taps and door handles in shared public spaces, such as malls, toilets and communal taps in townships. Therefore, a key application of an innovation by the principal investigators, Dr. David Oyedokun and Kai Goodall towards fighting COVID-19 was identified. This led to the IEEE HAC (Humanitarian Activities Committee) and SIGHT (Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology) funded project named Tool for COVID-19 Spread Prevention to mass produce 2 500 units of the tool. The tools are 3D printed with PLA Filament which is 100% biodegradable in order to make the project sustainable. These 2500 tools produced through the above funding for donation to  communities in South Africa.

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The TDO Multi-tool can be used to open a high number of different tap and door handle types in a contactless manner, without the user of the tool touching any of these shared surfaces that could be potentially infected with COVID-19. 

Features and design aspects of the tool includes: A Protective Cover which is used to conceal the tool before and after use, in order to reduce accidental contact with the active part which may be contaminated whilst it is not in use. A Protective Barrier between the safe passive handle part of the tool and the potentially infected active part of the tool in order to prevent the user accidentally touching the unsafe active part of the tool. 

The tool is not a replacement for hand sanitizers or other COVID-19 spread prevention guidelines and should be used in conjunction with other preventative measures.   

Community collaboration is a vital component of IEEE projects of this nature around the world. Through a partnership with Khayelitsha Metro Police Station under the directorship of Mr. Owen Ntsasa, the first batch of TDO Multi-tools were handed out to the  local Khayelitsha community. On Monday the 14th of September 2020. A team of IEEE young professionals led by Dr. Hillary Chisepo is facilitating distribution of the TDO Multi-tool. 

The Director of the Khayelitsha Metropolitan Police was very impressed by the tool and strongly believed that the tool would make a positive impact on the local community during this hard time of COVID-19. Feeling honoured that Khayelitsha was chosen as the first community for donation he said,  "This tool will be very useful in our community, especially with the elderly. I am very happy that you considered working with this Metro Police department, to bring this tool to the community we serve. I like the tool, I find it very light and easy to use." 

David and Kai designed and developed the TDO Multi-tool with assistance of Ben Bramwell being the 3D printing technician of the project and operator of the 3D printing farm which mass produces the tools. We are grateful to IEEE HAC/SIGHT for funding the mass production and distribution of the tool, and to UCT through the department of Electrical Engineering for contributing generously to the project by augmenting the 3D printing capacity with 8x3D printers.


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