A compound called titanium dioxide kills bacteria on contact; and two genius teenagers put this discovery to good use. They created a door handle from the compound, so every time you open the door, your hand is sanitized.
Sun Ming Wong, 17 and King Pong Li, 18, who like to go by Simon and Michael respectively, study at Church of Christ in China Tam Lee Lai Fun Memorial Secondary School in Tuen Mun, China. There idea began with hunting down a way to create self disinfecting surfaces, as common objects such as handrails, door knobs, counter-tops and shopping cart handles are notorious for being the most germ laden surfaces.
The teens discovered the power of TiO2, and also came to know that when paired with UV light, titanium dioxide works best to kill bacteria. Dusting a door knob with titanium dioxide, therefore, wasn’t enough. The students wanted to include an energy efficient way to produce UV light that could trigger effective germ killing.
Simon and Michael designed a cylinder shaped, glass door-handle held inside UV LED bulb fitted brackets. The UV LED bulb is powered by a gearbox attached to the door, which uses the energy created by the motion of the door (yay for renewable energy!) When the door handle is touched and the door moved, it lights up, activating the titanium dioxide coating and kills bacteria. Lab tests showed that 99.8 percent of the germs were effectively killed by this invention.
Simon and Michael show-cased their creation at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, an event created by the Society for Science and the Public, in Pittsburgh. They estimate that the door handle can be produced for mere $13 for general use.