man in white protective suit spraying lab

Background

Touchless Innovation, trading as Sanodaf, is a company that specialises in advanced disinfection and decontamination technology.  Their aim is to create, design and manufacture innovative processes and products to help eradicate micro-organisms and infections that can cause health issues in everyday life for people and animals.  They have experience of disinfection and decontamination as a service company and were looking at new devices to enhance current hygiene technology.

With expertise in environmental decontamination, Touchless Innovation developed a novel prototype of an easy-to-understand and cost-effective hand-hygiene device.  It was based on the simple principle of using ultraviolet to kill micro-organisms that are commonly found on hands, specifically using UV-C which is proven technology for eradicating pathogens.  The prototype was a hand sanitiser unit that prompted the user to place their hands inside an aperture that delivered a short transmission of UV-C directly onto hand surfaces.  The unit was automated and, upon entry, a timed exposure to UV-C would be experienced by the skin.  It was a touchless process and the unit would indicate when hands could be removed.  The entire process was delivered quickly and without any noise or residue.

Specialist UV-C devices are used in laboratory settings but there was not an accessible device for everyday use. The creation of this device would allow people to efficiently sanitise hands without access to washing facilities and within a much-shortened time period.

 

Challenge

The company did not have the required expertise to test the device and demonstrate the intended claim that it kills 99.9% of MRSA after a short exposure on the hands and that it was also safe for human exposure.  The practical work to test the device required a respected Category 2 laboratory facility and testing by an independent body for credibility. 

 

Solution

Interface connected Stuart White, Director of Touchless Innovation, with Edinburgh Napier University as it had the laboratories, expertise and bacterial strains required to carry out the microbiological aspects of the work.  This collaborative project was funded by a Scottish Funding Council Innovation Voucher.

 

Benefits

The results of the project allowed the company to identify any potential areas for design improvements and confidently market the device as a high volume, commercial product.  Given the robustness and limited cost, it was considered that the portable version of this device would have an immediate market, both domestically and internationally.

The success of this product would improve the ability to sanitise hands in everyday situations to fight infections and ill health and would create jobs in Scotland where the device would be manufactured.  The product had wide market appeal and the company’s intention was to expand globally into other markets where hygiene is poor and access to clean water restricted. 

The company also planned to have a version of the device to be used in disaster situations where there was no power or clean water and a high risk of illness and infection spread. 

 

It has been a privilege to work with the team at Napier; they have shown a high level of interest in the project from day one and demonstrated a very professional level of competency in undertaking the project, and in publishing the final result.  This now leaves my company able to grow and expand with this product and I hope to be able to work with the team at Napier again.  The result of this collaboration will make a very positive impact as we can now press ahead with the creation of working prototypes and move closer to releasing this product onto the market place.  We are aiming to sell it in the UK and overseas and this will be a significant step for us as an SME (small or medium-sized enterprise)Stuart White, Director, Touchless Innovation

It was an excellent experience working with Touchless Innovation.  The partner was extremely enthusiastic about their product but also realistic with the aims of this project.  I look forward to working with them again.  Dr Nick Wheelhouse, School of Applied Sciences, Edinburgh Napier University

Touchless Innovation Ltd was shortlisted for the Innovation of the Year award at The Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards 2019.

 

Stuart White

"I have had an entirely positive experience in all my dealings with Interface. 

They have provided clear and helpful advice for my initial project funded by a Scottish Funding Council Innovation Voucher.  I found the application process simple to understand and complete and I have now been encouraged to engage further with a follow-on innovation project, again with the help and support of Interface. 

I would encourage any SME to look at Interface as a credible resource for advice on innovation projects."

Stuart White, Director, Touchless Innovation Ltd