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Knock-Knock No More: Doors Are Being Redesigned Amid COVID-19

Doorknobs are out as entrepreneurs, engineers and architects design hands-free doors to reduce the spread of disease

3D-printed design of new door knob

Doors carry disease. A contaminated doorknob can infect half an office in just a few hours. But you can't exactly socially distance from a door.

As some companies plan a return to the office, entrepreneurs, engineers and architects are confronting a design challenge: how to keep the public safe from shared items that require constant decontamination. Grabbing a doorknob is almost as unconscious as touching your face — and both are now considered health risks, NBCNews reports.

CleanKey product used to open doors
CleanKey Canada
"Most heavy doors are around 50-70 pounds. Our plan was to make [something] thick enough to carry those doors," said CleanKey co-creator Ziad Salah

Tired of using his sleeve to open doors, Salah and two friends, brothers Abed Shawar, 26 and Ammar Shawar, 28, designed the CleanKey, a key-shaped pocket tool with a hook on the end that can open doors of up to 70 pounds without the user's hands ever touching the door handle. It can also be used to press elevator buttons, keypads or touch screens.

It took engineers at Materialise, which runs Europe's largest 3D-printing factory, just three days to design, manufacture, refine and publish online printing blueprints for a device that can be installed on an existing door handle and allows it to be opened with a forearm instead of a hand.

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