Germ-free future

THIRD-YEAR Temasek Polytechnic student Lukas Lee, 19, came up with a self-sanitising material that changes colour when it’s been touched and contaminated for his final year project.

Lee is currently in the final year of his Diploma in Product & Industrial Design. Outside of school, he enjoys working on other creative projects such as illustrating and 3D modelling. As a creative person, he loves experimenting with different mediums to express himself. Being a nature-lover, he also adores the outdoors and going to the beach is one of his favourite activities, as being out in nature helps him to de-stress and relax.

When asked about how he came up with his final year project, he said: “I chose the topic of ‘The New Normal’ which also refers to an endemic situation where we learn to live with the virus. I felt that this topic is important for the future of mankind.”

With only four months to complete their project which included research, user testing, ideation, form development, prototyping, visualisation and video making, students of the polytechnic are driven to develop a product that will change the world for the better.

“In the initial phase of research, I wanted to find out ‘how we could create visible hygiene’, which was a challenging question as we cannot see bacteria and viruses with the naked eye. I decided to focus on public transportation as it has high volumes of human traffic where hygiene may be overlooked,” explained Lee.

Since going out is such a big part of Lee’s life, it’s no wonder he was driven to do something to help ease this situation we’re all in. “I also experimented and tested out ideas such as textures that encourage people to clean their hands as well as patterns that can help people be more aware of their hygiene.”

With much user testing and feedback gathered, Lee said that it helped him develop his idea and made him rethink his perspective of ‘visible hygiene’.

“After completing my project, I plan to further develop it for commercialisation in the future as I can see its potential in many other fields apart from public transportation,” said Lee regarding the future of his final year project.

The self-sanitising material called Aegis is made up of multiple layers, with a thermochromic coating layer that changes a layer beneath it from dark to light purple when exposed to the heat of human contact. “The word ‘Aegis’ also means ‘shield’, I wanted my product to be like a visible “shield” that protects people from viruses and bacteria.”

Since the material is self-sanitising, sanitisers would not be required to clean the germs. The surface layer is an antiviral sheet manufactured by technology company ACLIV, which kills viruses and bacteria with silver ions in the time that it takes for the colour to change back to normal.

Currently, Lee is communicating possible collaborations with a few possible partners so that he can eventually implement his project into a large-scale project for the public to use.

In terms of durability, the antiviral film lasts up to six months and as an alternative, spray-on anti-viral coatings that are currently used on lift buttons can be deployed on the outer surface instead of replacing the sheets.

In the future, Lee plans to commercialise his project in hopes to see it applied to high-touch points in public spaces. Right now, he’s looking to pursue media design and animation at university and hone his existing design skillsets, going wherever his future is bringing him.

You may also like...