Did you just thoroughly wash your hands only to find out you need to open that door again? Oops!

We go about our lives without even noticing how many times we are opening and closing doors on an average day. These surfaces are touched by many people, which makes them a high risk of contamination, especially in times of pandemic, such as the current COVID-19 outbreak. There are reported cases of the doorknobs causing virus spreading in apartments, hospitals, and other buildings. Lab studies showed that the coronavirus could survive on steel surfaces for up to 3 days. Suddenly, doors have become obstacles in our day to day life.

How can you open a door without touching a handle?

Automated doors require expensive installations. Hand sanitizers are hard to get during outbreaks. Gloves are not practical. Using tissues is wasteful. Self-sanitizing handles? Great idea! But this is tomorrow. What we can come up with that can be done today? What could be a simple, cheap, yet effective solution?


Let us introduce Simsim—a simple device that helps opening doors without the use of hands. Upgrading a conventional door with our device enables visitors, customers, and employees, to open doors with their feet. This method reduces the risk of contracting or spreading the virus via door handle and doorknobs and could help minimize coronavirus from spreading.

The Simsim device is cheap to make and can be easily reproduced and distributed. It can be installed in a variety of doors in spaces like hospitals, shops, city halls, public toilets, etc.

How it works

A pedal connected to the door handle (or doorknob) unlocks the door when pressed. While keeping the pedal pressed, the door can be pulled or pushed open with the foot. No extra effort needed.

Simsim device in action

Simsim device

Press or push with one foot

Device Animation


During the hackathon, our team explored the problem and identified pain points and challenges using Design Thinking methods. Once we picked the most promising solution we worked on multiple prototypes to continuously refine the device. We used Fusion360 (CAD) software and Ultimaker 3D printers to design and create all the prototype's components.

Designing the prototype, we followed these principles:

  1. The solution must be simple
  2. It must be universal and fit different door designs
  3. The design must be easy to reproduce


  • Jonathan Arthur — Proto Designer, US
  • Andreas Horvath — Information Security Manager, Switzerland
  • Ruslan Komjakov — Product/Service Designer, Germany

Despite the quarantine, our collaboration scattered from Switzerland and Germany to the US. To organize our work across different time zones, we used tools like Slack, Github, Mural, and GoogleDocs. We come from different backgrounds, such as proto design, programming, service design, and information security.

What's next

We see many potential applications for our device—from all sorts of doors in public spaces like shops, town halls, gyms, toilets, to offices. We believe that reducing contamination from door handles will help to move us closer to the outbreak containment.

We are planning to keep refining the device. All the prototypes are available on the GitHub.

With simsim, doors are no longer an obstacle. No hands! No germs! No viruses!

We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to a fight against the pandemic. Thank You for letting us be a part of the #codeVsCOVID19 Hackathon!

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