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Look, no hands! Door-opening gadget made in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 06:00 30 April 2020 | UPDATED: 08:35 30 April 2020

Dr Aram Saeed, Dr Ali Mohammed, Noelia Dominguez Falcon are among the team that have developed the DoorMate Here pictured at the university's Innovation and Impact Awards earlier this year. Picture: Gary Pane

Dr Aram Saeed, Dr Ali Mohammed, Noelia Dominguez Falcon are among the team that have developed the DoorMate Here pictured at the university's Innovation and Impact Awards earlier this year. Picture: Gary Pane

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Norwich academics have unveiled a gadget to help frontline health workers avoid contact with contaminated surfaces during the coronavirus pandemic.

UEA academics have developed the DoorMate™ a device that enables healthcare staff to get through doors and carry out other tasks without having to touch surfaces that could be contaminated. Picture: UEAUEA academics have developed the DoorMate™ a device that enables healthcare staff to get through doors and carry out other tasks without having to touch surfaces that could be contaminated. Picture: UEA

The team from University of East Anglia have created the DoorMate, to be used to open doors and press buttons without having to touch surfaces.

The device has been tested by the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and has now been approved for clinical use, and is now available to be licensed.

Fiona Lettice, pro-vice chancellor of research and innovation at UEA, said: “It is inspirational to see our research staff and students collaborate to create innovative solutions to the COVID-19 crisis. This demonstrates the true value of academic research in responding in real time to real world challenges.”

Read more: ‘It cannot be ignored’ - University staff and students rise to challenge against coronavirus

As part of the design, the user will be able to use the hook to push or pull door handles, use the central part of to press buttons and a straight section of the device to use to press keyboard keys.

UEA academics have developed the DoorMate™ a device that enables healthcare staff to get through doors and carry out other tasks without having to touch surfaces that could be contaminated. Picture: UEAUEA academics have developed the DoorMate™ a device that enables healthcare staff to get through doors and carry out other tasks without having to touch surfaces that could be contaminated. Picture: UEA

The DoorMate was created by UEA researchers, technicians and students led by Dr Aram Saeed, from the school of pharmacy, inspired by reports from the World Health Organisation (WHO) about how the virus is transmitted.

Dr Saeed said: “Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the mood within the team has been relentless to try and find solutions to new issues.

“We immediately started looking at a range of key items including ventilators, ventilator valves, oxygen masks, and of course face shields.

Read more: Norwich researchers play part in pneumonia test for coronavirus patients

“We received an overwhelming response to our call out for collaborators to help us develop these items, for which we are extremely grateful.”

Dr Saeed also worked with PhD student Noelia Falcon, first year engineering student Alix Jenkins, Dr Ali Mohammed and Dr Mahmoud Abdelhamid from the school of pharmacy, and laboratory coordinator Paul Disdle.

Miss Falcon said: “The WHO brief suggested that there may be indirect contact transmission of the virus with the surfaces or objects in infectious environments, such as hospitals. We came up with the idea of the DoorMate™ as we wanted to create a device to allow users to open doors or enter keys without touching the surfaces, thus reducing surface transmission.”

To obtain the licence and download the manufacturing specifications, visit: www.uea.ac.uk/business/licensing-opportunities/engineering/doormate or email ipadmin@uea.ac.uk


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