Don’t Want to Touch Public Door Handles? An Agency Invented a Way Around It

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Even in this era of quarantine, it’s rarely possible to avoid public places (and surfaces) entirely. Grocery or pharmacy runs during the Covid-19 pandemic make you hyperaware of how often it’s necessary to touch things with your hands—or get creative with your feet and elbows.

To meet the demand for less skin-on-pretty-much-anything contact, agency TBWAHelsinki has created a simple and clever device that lets visitors to a building or shop open doors without having to grab handles with their hands.

Created from postconsumer recycled plastic and produced via 3D printing, the Fortum Vipu add-on lets you pull open a door with your sleeved forearm.

The devices are made from Fortum Circo, a versatile, recycled material crafted from plastic waste such as consumer goods packaging. The name Vipu is short for “virus protection unit.”

Working with the Fortum brand, TBWAHelsinki created the idea for the product, mocked up the first prototype and 3D printed the first trial-run batch in the agency’s innovation lab.



“To help fight COVID-19, our interactions with the built environment need to be hands-free,” said Fortum brand manager Jussi Mälkiä. “By innovating our surroundings, we can prevent the spread of the virus and give people a chance to do their daily chores more safely. We are now testing the 3D-printed handles in a real environment for a few weeks and if everything goes as planned, we are ready to expand our production.”

The device is currently being tested in locations of S Group, Finland’s largest retailer with more than 1,600 locations across its network of businesses. Data and feedback from the trial will be put toward further product development, the agency said.



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