E-Textiles

SELECTED PERSONA:

Name: Jenna

Age/Gender: 57 Female

Family:  Daughter and 2 cats

Occupation: Office manager

Hobbies/Collections:  vinyl records and classic books.

Technology:  iPhone, desktop computer, just got a kindle e-reader because she is running out of bookshelf space

PROBLEM:

Jenna loves working as an office manager, but has noticed as she is getting older that she gets sick a lot and has to take time off work when germs are going around, and this has a negative impact on work flow.  She also has a sensitivity to may cleaning chemicals used in the space, so more bleach isn’t a good solution for her.


Lets look at some data about germs in the office place…

An ATP of 300 or higher is considered officially dirty and at high risk for spreading illness. The dirtiest office surfaces found to have ATP counts of 300 or higher were as follows:

  • 75% of break room sink faucet handles
  • 48% of microwave door handles
  • 27% of  keyboards
  • 26% of refrigerator door handles
  • 23% of water fountain buttons
  • 21% of vending machine buttons

Surfaces with readings over 100 that could use disinfecting included:

  • 91% of break room sink faucet handles
  • 80% of microwave door handles
  • 69% of keyboards
  • 69% of refrigerator door handles
  • 53% of water fountain buttons
  • 51% of all computer mice
  • 51% of all desk phones
  • 48% of all coffee pots and dispensers
  • 43% of vending machine buttons

(http://healthland.time.com/2012/05/24/the-6-dirtiest-places-in-the-office/)

I’m going to focus on handles that aren’t on a sink since motion detecting faucets are a great solution already widely in use, or on keyboards, since these are less frequently a shared item.


DESIGN IDEA:

Antimicrobial covers for handles and knobs in public places at work that not only helps keep germs from spreading, but also alerts users to the danger of germs on handles, especially in shared kitchen areas.


COMPONENTS USED:

  • yarn
  • 2 large metal snaps
  • non-conductive thread to sew element together
  • conductive thread to create circuits between elements
  • LilyMini with SAMD11 brain
  • 3v coin battery
  • LilyPad Light Sensor
  • LilyPad Button
  • 4 LilyPad LEDs

LESSONS LEARNED:

  1. LilyPad components are fun to work with, but you have to take extra care to remember where you sewed with the conductive thread when you are trying to hide it in the design.  I had to resew part of the circuitry because half of the lights were not working correctly.  Unlike wires with traditional arduino boards, thread is harder to debug because I couldn’t see where it was and had to try to remember where I had sewed.
  2. As I was creating the prototype, I realized that antimicrobial yarn often incorporates silver as the microbe discouraging element, and that might interfere with the sewn in electrical components in this project.  I would need to do some testing to see if this would be problematic.  For the prototype, I used a silver colored yarn that I had on hand, but it does not contain any conductive metallic material, so I didn’t have issues.

POTENTIAL IMPROVEMENTS:

Programming that would trigger a red light after a certain number of people touched it to let someone know it needs to be washed.

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