By Florence Oduah.
Engineering lecturers with students of Federal Polytechnic, Oko in Anambra State have manufactured an Anti COVID-19 hand washing machine to help to contain the spread of Coronavirus.
The machine is solar powered and fully automated with liquid soap and water dispensing sections, hand drying and two hand sanitising sections.
This multipurpose machine was manufactured by a team of engineers from the Institution.
In a speech during inauguration of the project, the Rector, Dr Francisca Nwafulugo, said the project was embarked upon to strengthen the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
She expressed appreciation to the team for being able to deliver a good job within very short notice.
“The machine is solar powered, energy-conserving and cost saving.
“The machine is automated and censored to detect palms and can serve three persons at a go, while upholding the physical distancing rule.
“Solar power is a renewable energy that we can get every day as it does not attract any cost. It is pollution free because it does not emit gases.”
The rector said the machine was safe and could be sited in strategic places such as markets, schools, banks, ministries for use to contain the spread of the pandemic. “it will be officially presented to the State Government soon’’, she disclosed.
Dr Nwafulugo, an engineer said: ”Everything about the machine is locally produced including the liquid soap and hand sanitisers that it uses, which were produced by the Medical Services Unit of the institution.
“The Departments of Science Laboratory Technology and Fashion and Designing Technology had earlier produced hand sanitisers and face masks respectively that have been donated to the host community.
“We have concluded arrangements over online lectures for our students because we do not want them to be idle as they stay at home because of the pandemic. Our online lectures will soon commence,’’ Dr Nwafulugo noted.
Mr Christopher Osuji, Chairman of the team and lecturer in the Department of Electrical Electronics said the project was completed within a week.
According to him machine has 95 per cent local content and has a lifespan of five years, while the lifespan of its solar energy supply is 25 years.
“The gallons of soap and sanitisers inside the machine will serve a 1, 000 persons.”
Mr Osuji noted that the task was given to them by the rector, who also sponsored it. “It is aimed at strengthening the fight against COVID-19 pandemic as well as expose the students to required practical as some students were incorporated into the team’’.
He noted that the team had already commenced work on another machine that could detect COVID-19 virus.
“When a user places his hands under the water and soap dispensing section, the circuit comes up as the sensors detects the palms and lets down the liquid soap and water.
“At the hand drying section the hands get dried. The user, then, collects sanitisers, at hand sanitising section without touching any surface on the machine.
“Three persons can use the machine at the same time and still maintain physical distancing.
“Not less than 20 pieces of the machine can be produced within a week at a minimum cost of N400, 000,” Osuji said.
The Institution’s Librarian, Mrs Nwabu Ezemba described the project as progressive, noting that such had never been recorded in the Institution.
Felix Ibeamaka, one of the incorporated students remarked: ”Technology is a beautiful thing. Working on the project with my lecturers and fellow students enriched my knowledge’’.
The Deputy Rector, Dr Izuchukwu Onu and the Student’s Union President demonstrated the hand washing practice for people to see.
Members of the team are Obinna Otuu, Chike Nwulum, Emeka Nwankwo and Paul Abanga, all lecturers from various units in the Engineering Department.
Others are Pius Akubueze, Marcel Okechukwu, Joshua Obini and Sunday Okoye, all HND students drawn from various divisions in the Engineering Department of the Polytechnic.