A tap then sprays a light water mist along with a strong gust of air, which the students have proven to be nearly as effective as traditional hand-washing. However, the device uses only 10 percent of the water that regular hand-washing does.
Li Qizhang, a member of the team that developed the device, told a reporter from thepaper.cn that a model of their device has already been installed in a classroom building at the university, and that the results have been satisfactory. The students have set up a company to further promote their product.
In 2014, a student named Chen Puyang first came up with the idea while washing his hands in the school cafeteria. Washing one’s hands uses a lot of water, Chen thought. Would it be possible to replace the water with air?
Soon, Chen, Li and several classmates embarked on the project. The design of the device required knowledge from a variety of different majors, so the R&D team eventually came to be composed of seven students from various majors.
“We put different kinds of dirt on our hands and washed them with water. It turned out that 95 percent of water is used to flush away the dirt; only 5 percent is used to dissolve it. If we washed with only air, then the dirt on our hands would not dissolve. So we decided to use a fine water spray to complement the air. That way, the dirt is carried away by air and dissolved by water,” explained Li.