3,500 Bacteria Per Square Inch

Holy crap that’s how much there is on the average elevator button according to designer Skeet Wang. Skeet Wang, yes, Skeet Wang, has taken the idea of the touchless button and applied it to elevators. Which is a good idea if the other fact Skeet Wang says is true: that the 3,500 is 17 times greater than the average toilet seat.

Contagion! That’s what comes from elevator buttons. Instead of the black death, try this non-contact button method. The system uses “micro sensors mounted inside the hollow of each button, which will activate the order when people put fingertips through.”

And say what? “The UV rays shedding from the buttons will sterilize our fingertips when pressing the button in the meantime.”

Designer: Skeet Wang


  • Carl says:

    great for hospitals, but think u might still be touching it tho. great idea tho

    • Kay says:

      Hey, The touch-less wont be a touch less if they don’t know it is a touch less and keep touching it a ten times before figuring it out… I DONT THINK THIS would work.
      you can test it at a local business and see it you can avoid it bacteria spreading … let me know if you think its a money spend and money lost.

  • Ja says:

    i guess i see the point of it in hospitals but seems a bit over complex for such a situation.

    Also theres been this amount of bacteria around forever and weve managed so far. seems like he thought ‘ooo buttonless buttons that be cool’ then went on to invent a reason for it.

  • Bryan B says:

    Great idea, except if you ride the same elevator more than 5ish times a day. After a while, your finger would start to tan. 0_o

  • Yster says:

    What if I have my hands full of stuff and I want to use my elbow to hit the buttons? (which happens pretty often…)

  • VoReason says:

    Yes, because using energy to do something that already is done without the use of energy is always preferable. Why as a consumer would I want to by an elevator with motion buttons that increase the amount of electricity it pulls when buttons require no energy to be spent on input?

    When will designers learn, if it wastes more then is currently used, you FAILED at making a practical or even useful product.

    • M.S.W. says:

      Curious which elevator have you been on where the buttons don’t use energy? Virtualy all elevators buttons illuminate after being pressed to indicate the selection has been accepted and stays illuminated until the elevator has reached the selected floor.
      As far as the power consumption of the UV LEDs is nominal during the time they are on.
      Keep in mind also that Elevators are a state regulated machine, meaning that indicator lights and operation lights must function under exact set of requirements. One being having the main interior lights on all the time. Which are far more energy wasting then meager LEDs.

      • Bryan B says:

        Do you realize how much the “meager LEDs” cost? Currently each UV LED sells for $250. If you got 12? buttons only, you’ve already spent $3000, and they’re not even turned on, and assuming you only use one per button! The fact that you must now power “micro-sensors” 24/7, plus the microprocessor to run this, now puts this at more expensive to run. And then you have the problem with people who are light sensitive, like after some surgeries where they inject dye. They cannot have any UV light for several days after.

        I’m sure the newer elevators already use the LEDs for buttons, so the cheaper/more energy efficient argument is a joke.

        One last FYI, UV lights don’t produce that nice blue visible glow. You need other regular LEDs to produce light in the visible spectrum.

        • M.S.W. says:

          Yes Brian I’m well aware of UV LED cost both on the low quantity pricing and high volume purchase prices. For example a company (Like OTIS) could easily purchase said UV LED’s for far less then your stated $250 per unit price. Bringing the price down to say $25 per unit, which at that price is comparable to the common capacitive touch buttons already in use in their elevators. Thus negating the argument that it would be cost prohibitive to convert to this UI switchboard.

          As far as powering the “micro-sensors 24/7,plus the microprocessor” all current elevator sensors (floor buttons, door sensors, weight sensors etc.) along with the Microprocessors (redundancy is mandatory) are already running 24/7/365 to ensure full time safe operation.
          An elevator being upgraded to this UI switchboard would either decrease power usage (if changing from old style Neon lighted pushbuttons) or stay the same (if current setup is LED lit buttons) therefore would not be more expensive to operate.

          As for people with UV sensitive people you mentioned, if their condition is at the point where UV exposure to hands and exposed skin is dangerous they are Dr instructed to use gloves to avoid UV exposure from the Sun. Thus they have no threat of danger from this UV source.

          Update to your last FYI, UV LEDs also come with the “purple” tint just like the CFD, incandescent versions. Hence the Purple glow would be quite noticeable.

          • Bryan B says:

            I am currently in the design process of building a UV water purification system for developing countries, so I am well versed in UV light. There is no way to bring down the cost of the LEDs, current, as the 254nm wavelength is cost prohibitive atm.

            Gotta love an Engineering Major…

  • As a solution to a perceived problem this might have some traction. People have been sold the Koolaid that “GERMS ARE BAD” not realizing that by over use of antibiotics and such we are just letting natural selection work for stronger bugs. Couple little quibbles, what if you miss the little slot and hit the dirty face plate, oops, you got bugs. What if you have gloves on, thick fingers or some prankster puts wadded up tissue paper (or used gum for that matter) into the holes rendering the elevator unusable? Keep trying, keep thinking.

  • Victor Assis says:

    This just one more idea to integrate the germ-paranoia of the north-americans. Do you know your kitchen cloths and toilet seats must have a million times more bacterias than any metal surface in a public place?

    If you do believe this is important, buy yourself a bubble and move into it.

  • Confucius says:

    AFAIK I have never contracted the plague from touching an elevator button because I have a thing called an immune system to deal with it because that’s its job. I even bide by the 3 second rule when you drop your lunch on the floor, to keep my immune system updated!

  • Gunnar Tveiten says:

    This thing is quad-stupid.

    First. Germs on elevator-buttons is not actually a huge problem, in general the germ-paranoia in northern america particularily, is getting ridicolous.

    Second, if germs *was* a problem, you’d want a totally flat panel, for easy washing. Something like a stainless steel or glass panel with no indentations whatsoever. Imagine the ease of washing this contraption, relative to the ease of washing a totally flat glass-plate.

    Third, if no-touch operation was desirable, then why make holes to stick your finger in ? It takes considerable coordination to stick a 0.5 inch diametre finger in a 1 inch diametre hole, without touching the edges. (if you’re using this in a hospital or other place with weakened people, many will be unable to at all) Again, a flat panel with buttons that react even when you just come close to them, rather than touching, is superior.

    And fourth, the uv-leds. Get real ! Those are horrendously expensive, and doesn’t offer useful sterilization in split-second times, unless they’re at a power-level where you insert your finger to have it instantly grilled.

  • sarrel says:

    I’d end up touching it anyway, but maybe that’s just me. It would seem like a better idea to have it be voice activated, but that’s generally more complicated…

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