Thinking about the sun leads to device that could help in hospitals, high-traffic areas
When Grant Edwards sees a heap of roller-skate wheels, a towel ring and a singing-toothbrush battery, he doesn’t think garbage. He thinks invention.
Grant, 17 and a home-schooled senior who lives in south Charlotte, has had a knack for creating contraptions since he was a child.
But his most recent gadget took him to State University of New York Oswego for the 2011 Global Environmental Issues U.S (GENIUS) Olympiad competition in June, where he was awarded gold and a most-innovative prize for his self-sterilizing doorknob.
Grant went up against more than 170 finalists from 45 countries and 32 states, who were all challenged to create projects that could better the environment.
“Even though mine wasn’t the one with the most time spent on it, it was the one you could apply the easiest and relate it to everybody,” Grant said. “It (could) ultimately save the most lives.”
The Ultraviolet Automatic Circumrotating Contained Entry Sterilization System II, which he called UACCESS II for short, has been in the works for about two years, Grant said.
The idea first came to him when he was thinking of possible science fair projects on the way to Boy Scouts.
“I had read in my science book about ultraviolet light, that the sun uses it to sterilize its atmosphere,” Grant said. “So I was thinking about doorknobs and how people always struggle to open them and use a paper towel. So what if you could incorporate the two, where the light sterilizes the handle?”
Sterilizing the handle
The handle of the product is made of a large towel ring. Half of the ring is exposed, creating a handle for a door, while the other half of the ring is encased in the door. Once the exposed part of the handle is pulled, it spins into the door, where it is sterilized by ultraviolet light for one minute and the already sanitized portion of the handle becomes accessible, Grant said.