The Three Shell Mystery Finally Solved!

While we certainly acknowledge the valuable contributions of the open hardware community that help to mitigate the coronavirus crisis, we are also looking forward to the days when people start going back to building other things than 3D-printed face shields, pandemic trackers, and automatic soap dispensers. However, this handwash timer by [Agis Wichert] is a very creative version that also tries to solve the long outstanding mystery of how to use the three seashells. Unfortunately, in contrast to those in the original movie, these three seashells do not replace toilet paper which many people are seemingly so desperate in need of at the moment.

The build is quite simple and requires only a few off-the-shelf components including a Neopixel strip, IR proximity sensor, and an Arduino Nano. The plastic seashells were taken from the classic German “Schleckmuschel” candy, thereby giving the project an extra retro twist. As shown in the video embedded below, the timer works by consecutively dimming the LEDs located under each seashell until the recommended duration of 20 seconds has elapsed which is indicated by shortly flashing all LEDs.

Handwash timer projects do not always have to be visual as this one playing your favorite Spotify tunes proves. What we really would like to see though is someone building a toilet paper dispenser that is triggered by swearwords.

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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.

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