Hand hashing is said to be the #1 tip for preventing the spread of virus and bacteria. While this seems like a simple activity, it is usually not done properly and for the right time to make it effective, in fact according to studies about 97% of people wash their hands incorrectly. During the Coronavirus many strategies, like counting time through songs were diffused to encourage people to do proper washing. While effective, this action with time can become monotonous or easy to forget. Additionally to underwashing, there is the problem of overwashing which can cause skin irritation due to dryness and also lead to increased water usage and waste.
To provide a solution to this situation we created Washi, a waterproof attachable device that helps people build hand hygiene and water saving habits by using nudge techniques that induce behavioral change. Washi works by using proximity sensors, time tracking, and easy to understand visual cues and feedback.
With a friendly display and customizable covers, it is a product that adjusts to both adults and children. Its technical simplicity gives it potential to be used in homes and public places like schools as a hygiene educational tool.
The Washi device comes with a suction cup that allows it to be placed in different surfaces and locations; it consists of 2 main function modes. The first oriented towards improving hand washing, ideally to be placed in wash basins or its area, and the second towards water saving.
In the first mode, the sensor activation starts a 20 second timer displayed on screen while visually instructing how to wash hands properly. After this time, positive feedback is given with a simple and friendly character to tell that washing has been done properly.
If proximity continues to be sensed, the display will notify excessive water usage, if it stops sensing the proximity before the 20 seconds pass, the timer will continue briefly but will eventually provide “sad feedback” if there is absolutely no proximity.
The second mode is manually activated with a rotating wheel that allows to set a personal time goal and can be applied for other functions such as teeth brushing or showering.
We wanted to design an effective product but to keep it affordable to increase its reach and impact. In this sense, we needed to optimize the design and simplify as much as possible the technology and the interactions to be able to overcome this challenge. Another challenge was thinking of usability and integrated functions within the product. We designed Washi in a way which makes it useful for a pandemic scenario and also after the pandemic and that can be useful for everyone in a family.