Germ-free future

THIRD YEAR Temasek Polytechnic student Lukas Lee, 19, has devised a self-sanitizing material that changes color when touched and contaminated for his final year project.

Lee is currently in the final year of her Diploma in Product & Industrial Design. Outside of school, he enjoys working on other creative projects such as illustration and 3D modeling. As a creative person, he likes to experiment with different means of expressing himself. Being a nature lover, he also loves the outdoors and going to the beach is one of his favorite activities as being in nature helps him relax and unwind.

When asked how his project for the last year was born, he said: “I chose the topic ‘The New Normal’ which also refers to an endemic situation in which we learn to live with the virus. I have heard that this topic is important for the future of humanity. “

With just four months to complete their project which included research, user testing, conception, module development, prototyping, visualization and video making, polytechnic students are driven to develop a product that will change the world for the better.

“In the initial phase of the research, I wanted to find out ‘how could we create visible hygiene’, which was a challenging question as we cannot see bacteria and viruses with the naked eye. I decided to focus on public transport as it has high volumes of human traffic where hygiene could be neglected, “explained Lee.

Since dating is such an important part of Lee’s life, it’s no wonder he was pressured to do something to help alleviate this situation we’re all in. “I have also experimented and tested ideas such as plots that encourage people to wash their hands as well as models that can help people be more aware of their hygiene.”

With much testing and user feedback gathered, Lee said it helped him develop his idea and made him rethink his “visible hygiene” perspective.

“After completing my project, I intend to develop it further for commercialization in the future as I can see its potential in many other fields besides public transportation,” said Lee regarding the future of his project last year.

The self-sanitizing material called Aegis is made up of multiple layers, with a thermochromic coating layer that changes an underlying layer from dark to light purple when exposed to the heat of human contact. “The word ‘Aegis’ also means ‘shield’, I wanted my product to be like a visible ‘shield’ that protects people from viruses and bacteria.”

Since the material is self-sanitizing, no disinfectants would be needed to clean out germs. The surface layer is an antiviral sheet produced by the technology company ACLIV, which kills viruses and bacteria with silver ions in the time it takes for the color to return to normal.

Currently, Lee is communicating possible collaborations with some possible partners so that he can eventually implement his project into a large-scale project that the public can use.

In terms of durability, the antiviral film lasts up to six months, and alternatively, the spray antiviral coatings currently used on the lift buttons can be applied to the outer surface instead of replacing the sheets.

In the future, Lee plans to commercialize his design in hopes of seeing it applied to higher touchpoints in public spaces. Right now, he’s looking to pursue media design and animation at university and honor his existing design skills, going wherever his future takes him.