You may remember The Agency of Design from our story on designing with energy, as told by the group's co-founder Richard Gilbert. Just as the Agency's design for a sustainably efficient lamp was focused on hard data—in lieu of the fluffy eco-friendly promises and features we too often see today— their recent project, PullClean, is largely based on research and observation. By investigating the daily movements of hospital employees, the Agency of Design came up with a door-handle-turned-sanitizer that makes it as convenient as possible for hospital employees to keep their hands clean by using one of the most used surfaces to do so.
As stated in their product video, hospital acquired infections kill around 100,000 people in the U.S. every year. As we know from Rachel Lehrer's two-part case study on the topic, sanitizing in a hospital environment is a real problem for employees—and when they're attending to already sick or injured patients, the germ-spreading quotient multiplies.
Gilbert explains in the video:
The Agency of Design created a web portal to record and dissect the success of the design through usage sensors located in the handles. Here's what they found:
Pre-production prototypes of the handle have been used for a clinical trial in a leading U.S. hospital. Once the handle was installed the trial team saw the rates of hand sanitizing rise from 22% to 77%. This level of increase would have a massive impact on the rates of hospital acquired infections.
Currently, PullClean is in production and targeted to ship this year. Keep an eye on their website for any updates on shipping dates.