• Clean hold

    Clean hold

    About 2 500 3D-printed multitools are being distributed in townships across South Africa to help curb the spread of the coronavirus in communal facilities.

    A team from the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) electrical engineering department has designed a tool that can be used to open a variety of doors and taps without directly touching shared surfaces. The Tap and Door Opener Multitool features a protective cover to reduce accidental contact or contamination while not in use, and can be cleaned using soap and water. A thumb indent ensures a firm grip on the ergonomic handle.

    According to the university, the tools are 3D printed using a thermoplastic polyester, and are fully biodegradable. The units are being manufactured and distributed thanks to funding from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Humanitarian Activities Committee and the Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology. The first batch has already been delivered to Khayelitsha, Cape Town, including 70 units for members of the local community police station.

    ‘The COVID-19 pandemic has really highlighted the role of engineering addressing healthcare problems,’ says Alison Lewis, dean of the faculty of engineering and the built environment at UCT. ‘It has provided a platform for our engineers to develop innovative technical solutions that can benefit local communities.’

    A further 1 800 units are expected to be ready for distribution over the next few weeks, and community members will be provided with educational videos and demonstrations on how the device is used.

    27 October 2020
    Image: Kai Goodall