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The Distancer is a new invention designed and prototyped using 3D technologies initially at Alder Hey. It is a small handheld device worn by a healthcare professional, with space for an ID card and fitted with a hook to open door handles and a flat end to push doors open.
It allows touch-free movement for staff working in hospitals and other settings, such as industrial and commercial premises, warehouses and offices.
The new invention reduces the risk of staff coming into contact with COVID-19, which can survive on hard surfaces such as door handles for up to 72 hours.
The new solution was inspired by Alder Hey’s Clinical Director of Innovation Iain Hennessey, who wanted to come up with a way to reduce infection risk during the current COVID-19 outbreak.
Iain understood that door handles in public places were touched by hundreds of different people a day so he came up with a new and innovative solution to alleviate this. Iain’s idea was then designed and created by 3D LifePrints, who are based in Alder Hey’s innovation hub.
Clinical Director and Paediatric Surgeon Iain Hennessey said: “Transmission of the COVID19 virus from surfaces like door handles represents a real risk to frontline workers and patients. The Distancer will help reduce risk of contact transmission and give greater peace of mind to healthcare professionals as they move around hospitals.”
The device is at the heart of a campaign calling on all companies to play their part in keeping NHS personnel safe at this challenging time.
All staff at Alder Hey will be given one and there have already been orders placed from NHS trusts in the UK and as far away as New York.
Paul Fotheringham, Founder and CTO of 3D LifePrints who designed and created the device said: “Innovation can be simple yet effective. A hospital-based medical professional in their daily movements can pass through over 100 doors. Each door or ID access point can be a potential source of viral or bacterial contamination.”
“Never before have so many people wanted to make a difference, but for most of us, beyond our own responsible personal behaviour, it is difficult to know how we can make a significant impact to prevent the spread of the virus. The Distancer campaign offers companies the chance to really make a difference to project their own employees and help secure the NHS against this incredibly disruptive and dangerous virus.”
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