How much time do you spend worrying about the terror of disgusting, unspeakable microscopic germs swimming and crawling on everyday items?
If you find yourself using your shirtsleeve to pull open door handles or pulling the classic move to slip out quickly behind the person in front of you when leaving the bathroom, you are probably the typical ‘germ-avoid.’ Although most of us have been given the willies through social media listicles and blurbs on the news about cell phones and kitchen sinks bearing more germs than our toilets, we generally only have so much time to stress about avoiding germs–and wearing a total body bubble or plastic gloves everywhere would be making um, er, well, a statement.
But if you are tired of relying on a mixture of good luck and a robust immune system, Zach Friedli has a great new gizmo, just launched on Kickstarter, for all of us who want to keep our fingers germ-free while out and about doing things like getting on the bus, grabbing a drink from a soda fountain, pushing well used shopping carts, and well, ugh, touching ‘stuff’ in general. He hopes to raise $50K by April 16, and there are some great early-bird deals for all the germ-avoids out there lacking protection.
You can reap the good health rewards of two years of designing, testing, and prototyping by Zach Friedli for the ‘Clean Touch.’ Most of us, upon reaching the age where we become consciously aware of how many germs are out there, go through a stage where we envision every surface as giving us the flesh-eating bacteria. Zach became concerned when he discovered how little hand sanitizer actually works, only killing between 45-60 percent of germs.
A creative type, not the least bit hindered by debilitating vision loss, Zach worked on a number of rudimentary devices meant to keep distance between himself and germs before discovering digital design and the WhiteClouds 3D printing service. He conceptualized a clever device which is a flat plastic piece that allows you to insert your finger into it, sliding out the germ guard which allows for a plastic barrier between yourself and all the evil microbes lurking in everyday scenarios. When you are finished with all your touching of non-sterile ‘things,’ you can retract the guard back into the device, never touching any of the germs. The device is then easily washed with a simple solution of soap and water.
After drawing, refining, and completing a design by hand he was able to work with a engineer who translated that to a digital design using SolidWorks before handing over the .stl file, which Zach was able to send to WhiteClouds for professional 3D printing.
“My product required 2 totally different types of material for my prototyping and testing. I originally thought this would make things complicated but WhiteClouds was able to print my parts that required a very rigid plastic as well as a piece that needed a lot of flexibility and give to it,” said Zach. “One of my parts had a large amount of detail to it and their printers were able to accurately read and print it without a problem.”
WhiteClouds produced the small germ protection device on a Stratasys Connex 500, a multi-material printer.
“The biggest advantage of 3D printing for me was the ability to have a very functional prototype of my product in a matter of days. Once I tested the first prototype, I quickly had my engineer make the necessary adjustments and sent it right back to WhiteClouds,” said Zach. “I was able to make drastic changes and improvements to each prototype weekly. This made the development process quick and smooth. Nothing can replace an accurate and functional prototype during the testing phase.”
“Another big advantage for me was WhiteClouds’ ability to print in a gloss finish. I not only wanted something that worked well, but I wanted it to look good for the photos I was advertising with on Kickstarter. [This] allowed me to organize my campaign quickly and in a very cost-effective way.”
Funds will be used to complete product development, testing, and manufacturing—as well as fulfillment. Supporters receive their own Clean Touch devices upon pledging as little as $12, with the addition of a sticker bearing the saying,”I’m not a germaphobe….I’m a GERMAVOID!” As supporters pledge more, they receive additional items like replacement germ guards and pens.
For a nice round sum of $2000, Zach says he will have his chauffeur (also known as his lucky wife) drive him to your house for personal delivery of ten Clean Touches, ten stickers, and ten personal pens. They will then take you out for your ‘first feces-free soda.’ Now, that’s a germ-avoid’s dream!
Will you be supporting Zach’s campaign? Tell us your thoughts in the 3D Printed Clean Touch forum over at 3DPB.com. Be sure to check out the hilarious GERMAVOID Kickstarter pitch video below: