A Touchless Handwashing Timer Comes In Handy

In 2020, it’s no longer enough to simply wash your hands. You’ve got to do it right. Proper process involves rubbing soap and water over every surface of your hands, and taking a full 20 seconds to do the job. While many recommend singing various popular songs to keep time, that can be more than a little embarassing in shared spaces. [Alex Glow] instead created this simple timer to help out.

The timer is built on the Adafruit Circuit Playground Express, a devboard that features 10 RGB LEDs already onboard, making the project a cinch. It also comes with a MEMS microphone and a light sensor all ready to go. Thus, with a bit of code, [Alex] was able to create a timer activated by a loud noise, such as clapping. Once detected, the timer starts, flashing its LEDs to indicate time remaining. There’s also a nightlight feature, which activates when light levels decrease, making it easier to navigate the bathroom in the dark.

It’s a useful little project for these troubled times, and one that makes great use of everything onboard the Circuit Playground Express. Having everything included certainly does make projects come together quickly. You can even program it from your phone! Video after the break.


23 thoughts on “A Touchless Handwashing Timer Comes In Handy

  1. Got one here rigged up with the supercharger from a Buick and a rotax motor from a snowmobile, short of volunteers to get roofied and try it though, you up for it?

  2. Seriously. Before you post on every story here, consider what you personally are doing to help us in this situation. All I see is you bitching about others not doing their bit. Please contribute. I look forward to your carefully thought out, well researched, well documented project which will help us all.

    If this fun simple project made one person spend a little more time thinking about hand washing properly then it has more value than your response.

    I don’t want an untested ventilator by some ‘clever’ person with a new approach and zero knowledge of the field being used on a family member. I’d rather professionals/companies fast tracked something.

    I come to hackaday to be entertained and challenged to new projects. I don’t come here for lifesaving tips.

    1. agreed, use your brain people, its not that fuggin hard, you don’t need a mims enabled RGB 20 second timer other than a thinly veiled shill advertisement for a junk board

  3. I would be very interested to know what the relative transmission rates were for hand contact versus breathing it in (through microscopic droplets from coughs/sneezes/breath). A great deal of emphasis has been placed on hand washing and very little on the avoidance of breathing it in, although that seems to be belatedly changing. The WHO are now looking at whether to advise people to wear face masks. I don’t know why it has taken them so long to state what seemed blindingly obvious to many people months ago.

    1. I wonder that too – not in a flippant way, just want to learn what’s behind this. Inertia? Deep thoughts from competent people? Fear of running out of face protection?

      Whatever the answer, I’d like to know, because as you say, it goes against “common sense”. (Which sometimes can not be trusted, but still, mostly it can.)

    2. good gawd im am going to have to explain this to the 100th nimrod this week, thanks hack a day. The virus does not travel very easily in free air, Rather the most common way of transmission is mucus or saliva droplets left on surfaces, that are then TOUCHED BY THE FUCKIN HAND and transfered cause you filthy humons cant stop touching your face.

      So the masks do 2 things, make you touch tour filthy humon faces more cause most of you plebs are not used to wearing masks, and reduces chances of some dipshit coughing or sneezing directly on your mouth … which you should kick them in the balls for doing so, pandemic or not.

      1. Touching your face, with your filthy hands, is the most common mode of transfer. The eyes, nose, and mouth are the main gateways to infection. Washing your hands often, does help reduce carrying around the virus from everything you touch, but touch stuff, is what we all do. Masks will keep individuals from infecting other people, but poor protection from getting infected yourself. They have to fit properly, and restrict breathing. Any infectious particles are stuck to the outside surface. Masks might reduce your chances of breathing any in, but most people don’t cover their eyes. Anything, is better than nothing at all, I suppose. Most people have exaggerated expectations though. Avoid crowds, wash your hands religiously, before touch your face, is about all you really need, to avoid getting infected. Everything else, is more to protect other people, from what you are carrying around.

      2. Have you got a source for data/research on ‘..most common way of transmission is…’?

        I’ve wondered how far airborne droplets/particles can travel and still be breathed in. Most probably falls to the ground (or other surfaces) quite soon but I’d be surprised if some doesn’t travel a long way, especially the smaller ones which you might not see. There’s some recent research from MIT:


        If the water in the smaller particles evaporates before it reaches the ground, any remaining virus particles might travel much further as gravitational effects would be negligible? (although these probably might not be absorbed by some face masks)

  4. Normal face mask (not those airtight with special filters) don’t protect the wearer (they aren’t made for that; you would need something airtight, like a hazmat suit), they protect (well actually only reduce the chance) the others around the one with the mask from microscopic droplets of the wearer. The WHO probably didn’t want to recommend wearing masks to not get the people into a false sense of security. That would make the situation only worse. Especially since these normal masks are needed in hospitals.

    1. Masks protect against droplets, going both ways. Everybody wearing a mask would help a lot.

      Masks also reduce transmission through hands/objects, since you’re less likely to touch your mouse or nose with the mask on.

    2. Quite a lot of the ‘normal’ masks have a one-way check-valve in them. This allows air to pass through when you breathe out. You can hear them opening and closing when in use. This suggests that there is at least some kind of ‘seal’ between the mask and the face and that most air will pass through the filter (on the ‘in’ breath) rather than around it. If there was no seal at all, why would the valves open and close? (and why would they put valves in them at all?). Also, if these masks didn’t protect the wearer against anything (e.g. dust, whatever) why would companies even make them? (or are you saying that water particles with virus in them somehow evade the filters in these masks whereas dust particles don’t?).

    3. I though the Hackaday community wouldn’t be able to exist comfortably in the paradox zone between “Masks pretty much don’t work lol” and “Heathcare workers in hospitals must wear masks to stay safe and reduce the spread of infection”

      Trying to hold both of those concepts simultaneously in your mind is only the most logical option, if you have a deep-seated need to avoid where “why weren’t we ready” thinking goes.

    4. It depends on the context whether protection for stuff coming in, or going out, or both.

      Surgical masks were initially used to prevent the health care worker from contaminating aseptic conditions in an operation.

      Industrial N95 masks are often worn to protect the wearer from fine particulate coming in. (These are the ones I have seen with check valves for breathing out.)

      Healthcare workers and their patients need protection from a lot more than just corona virus. (bacteria, blood borne pathogens, etc.)

      A procedural mask doesn’t protect much from corona viruses coming in.
      The CDC recommendation for general mask wearing is to help reduce transmission from asymptomatic carriers.

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