What it Does
The Wren is a consumer sanitation solution for restaurants, retail shops, and schools. It allows visitors to safely sanitize their hands quickly with zero contact, eliminating unwanted germs in an elegant and durable design.
Many stores are adopting the use of hand sanitizer for customers entering their establishments. This is effective but not an aesthetic, environmentally friendly, or contemporary long term solution. During and after the COVID-19 crisis people will be more concerned about the risk associated with viral illnesses. I was additionally inspired by the use of kolonya, a fragrance/disinfectant, in Turkey offered to guests upon arrival. Expressing these influences, Wren began to take flight as a contactless, low waste, and elegant solution, with integrated scents that can be customized to the owner’s desires.
How it Works
Upon entering, a guest would insert their hands into the top of the Wren, which uses motion sensors to begin sanitizing. The Wren uses 18 nozzles strategically placed around the user's hands. Each outlet dispenses a spray of scented sanitizing solution. As the low viscosity alcohol solution passes through the system it draws essential oil from the scent reservoir. When the LED light turns green, the guest is notified that their hands have been fully sanitized. The plumbing is accessed by neatly removing the base and the nozzle assemblies can be removed from the top for maintenance. Additionally, the touch display on the right side can show when it is time to add more solution and how many customers have used the product over a chosen period.
The design originated from a few initial sketches jotted down on some scrap paper. From these drawings, I made initial CAD models to understand the form and general dimensions needed to create a product effective for its purpose. Gaining an understanding of the general form, it was back to the drawing board to draw system schematics of how the many components would work harmoniously while also improving aesthetics. The current silhouette began to take root as I integrated the critical components back into CAD. At this stage, I began to focus on individual components, iterating through designs to emphasize compactness, usability, and ease of maintenance. The final step was to ensure that the many complex relationships between components worked in a way that harmonizes into the best user experience for ease of use and intuitive interaction. The name Wren comes from the symbolism of the songbird as being a responsible member of a community.
How it is Different
The Wren is unique in its approach because no other hand sanitation solution focuses on elevating the user experience. The most common approaches are plastic bottles of gel hand sanitizer or foam sanitizer dispensers. Both of these solutions often lead to puddles of residue on the floor, large amounts of single-use plastic waste, and frequently touched dispensing lids. The Wren improves on these downsides by utilizing a light mist that quickly evaporates, no single-use plastics (ex. sanitation reservoir is removable and dishwasher safe), a contact-free interface, and a durable, elegant design.
As this project continues to evolve, I plan to focus on furthering the design for manufacturing and assembly by constructing a functional physical prototype. With further iterations of components in the prototype, Wren can be impelled towards full-scale manufacturing.
I have always enjoyed coming up with solutions for new and current problems. This product was another opportunity to begin with an idea in the hope of creating a solution. Iteration is the way that product design can evolve. The initial concept is never your final destination. That said, it is important to allow change and to not be overly attached to one idea. Wren started as a sketch, but it continued to evolve because there were ways for it to grow. Do not settle for the first solution; keep striving for better.
The Wren was further improved upon a for project in my Deign for Manufacturability and Assembly class. Focusing on the essential features, the Wren was simplified for large scale injection molding processes. The pump and the reservoir were integrated into the right side to reduce tubing and slim down the plastic molds. The reservoir was made transparent to easily monitor the fluid level and allowing for the exclusion of the display featured in Version 1. Additionally, there are 3X fewer nozzles, which allows for the much thinner hand sanitizing port.