Created a spray bottle attachment to introduce an automatic sensing/spraying unit for use in ethanol sterilization in lab settings.
All objects entering a sterile environment such as a biosafety cabinet (BSC) are sterilized with a decontaminant, often aerosolized via spray bottle. Reducing the time spent sterilizing by increasing convenience and ease of use of ethanol sterilizers can have significant benefits for all research requiring sterile environments. Our solution was to create an automatic ethanol spraying device that has the ability to attach to a wide range of spray bottles and uses object detection to activate a motorized trigger mechanism. This product addresses a large target market, which includes biological research laboratories in academia and industry. To our knowledge, there are no products specifically tailored to this goal, nor are there products made to attach to preexisting spray bottles currently on the market. Our pioneering product is an easily manufactured and maintained device that is valuable in a diverse set of research environments by increasing efficiency and convenience.
Industry, graduate, and undergraduate researchers in wet labs need a device that saves them time and energy while completing routine tasks. An automatic spraying mechanism attached to existing lab spray bottles eliminates the need to physically touch a spray bottle every time an object needs to be sterilized, reduces the risk of dropping cells, and minimizes hand fatigue by removing the need to pull the spray bottle’s trigger.
We spent time studying the mechanism of a spray bottle and deciding how we wanted our product to look – create a new bottle? make an enclosed box to put objects inside? create something that goes over the head of an existing bottle?
We decided to go with the 3rd option and revisit the 2nd, if we had the time to. We then thought about the mechanism and bought parts to create the basic functionality. I helped with the code for our Arduino, while other members of the group worked on the electronic components of our circuit. We then started 3D printing parts for the casing and fixing our power and servo to actually pull the trigger of the bottle. It needed a lot more power than we initially expected.
Due to COVID-19, we were unable to finish physically building our product. However, we took the opportunity to fully CAD our design, and write up a technical proposal – looking into markets, any regulatory pathways we may have needed to adhere to, cleaning up the electronics, etc.
You can view our proposal and 3D modeled videos of our final design here