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Squirty voter: An innovative COVID-19 compliant way to collect public feedback

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Researchers at Swansea University’s Computational Foundry are sharing a new, low cost invention which combines the concept of traditional public voting machines and automatic hand sanitiser dispensers.

Squirty Voter is public engagement technology pioneered by researchers at the Cherish-DE project, Gavin Bailey and Dr Cameron Steer, which can help keep people stay safe and stop the spread of COVID-19 by incorporating regular hand sanitising into the engagement tool.

Dr Steer said: “Since the pandemic started, we have all been trying to reduce the spread of germs to keep people safe. One aspect of this has been limiting our contact with public surfaces and regularly washing and sanitising our hands.

“Public engagement technology with questions are great for letting people share their opinions and feelings, however, they often involve contact with buttons or touch screens. We built Squirty Voter to enable continued engagement with people but in safer way, replacing the need for touching public buttons that may be seen as unhygienic.”

Squirty Voter, which is currently being trialled at Swansea University’s Bay Campus, allows people to vote or answer a question at the hand sanitising station without touching any surfaces. The user is asked a question and gives their answer by choosing one of two hand sanitisers which operate automatically once a hand is placed underneath. These answers are then recorded by a microcontroller and are recorded based on which dispenser is activated.

The device could be used by anyone who wants to ask users questions while making use of the space occupied by hand sanitisers. For example, a shop owner could use it to ask customers about their shopping experience.

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The current version of Squirty Voter costs around £150 for two automatic hand sanitisers setups which includes device, power supply and hand sanitiser, an Arduino to record answers, MDF board and wire.

Details on the code and hardware needed to make Squirty Voters can be found on its website along with a request to anyone who makes one to share on #SquirtyVoter.

Visit Squirty Voter.

(Lead image: Swansea University)

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