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Automatic Toiletry (CGT 512)

This just struck me today. I was at Hick Undergraduate Library, at Purdue University, and I was trying to wash my hands (yes in the bathroom). I stood there for about 5 minutes finicking with the stupid sink’s motion sensor, and I finally got it to work to the point where I could wash the soap off my hands.

I realized this is an example of a bad usability, yet I didn’t want to use one of my good/bad design blog posts, required for CGT 512, so I am passing it off as thoughts and ideas.

The Problem

I couldn’t wash my hands when using the automatic sink. I even covered up the sensor and it didn’t turn on. Huge problem in todays germ infested world. Before you ask, no, I am not a germaphobe. Being clean is being cool. Sounds exactly like what my first grade teacher said to me.

My Thoughts on Making it Better

From my understanding, automatic faucets, and for that matter automatic toilets, work using an infrared signal. When it is disrupted they will either turn on, or flush in the toilets case.

So how can we/I make this better? The sink not the toilet. The Japanese got the toilet on lock as of now. I have put down a couple of my thoughts when it comes to this. Some may not be viable, but it is still cool to think about.

  1. Touch the faucet to turn it onThis would make you touch the sink, which I understand is the whole point of automatic faucets, but you would be only be touching it for the beginning. People are concerned with touching the sink again after they have finished washing their hands. What if the faucet had an automatic shut off? Instead of sensing if your hands are in the “correct” spot, why can’t we just shut it off a specified amount of time after you touch it?
  2. And well I am drawing a blank as I continue to write this…. I guess I will have to pick up where I left off when it comes to me!


I am a life-long learner, adventure seeker, and front-end developer for @ExactTarget