One of the key pieces of advice the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are giving to people during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak is washing your hands thoroughly with soap for at least 20 seconds. Health experts say that doing this along with social-distancing can help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
But how do you time the washing of hands for 20 seconds without counting? There are a bunch of ways that people are trying, and there's one that has gained a lot of popularity over the last few weeks - singing "Happy Birthday" twice while washing your hands, as it takes roughly 20 seconds to hum the song. It's weird singing Happy Birthday to yourself every time you wash your hands. There's got to be something better, right?
A DIY soap dispenser that plays music while you wash your hards
You can sing a part of your favorite song or recite a short poem or rhyme, or you can get all creative and geeky about it and build a Do-it-Yourself (DIY) internet connected soap dispenser that can play 20 seconds of literally any music from your Spotify playlist every time you squeeze a little soap on your hands.
The DIY musical soap dispenser is an idea by creative engineering and design company Deeplocal.
How to make the DIY 'Scrubber' soap dispenser
The aptly named Scrubber – inspired by the act of your scrubbing your hands while washing – rigs up a tiny speaker and a Raspberry Pi to a soap dispenser and connects it to your most played Spotify tracks of the week.
When you press the nozzle, it selects a song from your Spotify list of most played tracks of the week list and crops it down to 20 seconds with the help of a timer, signalling you that you're good for rinsing the soap off.
It takes roughly around 4 hours to assemble a soap dispenser-activated speaker and you will need, of course, a soap dispenser and a Spotify account and a Raspberry Pi W Zero mini computer, an Adafruit Speaker Bonnet, a few inches of thin wire and a bit of copper tape, and some open source software to go about building your very own Scrubber.
Not too expensive
Building the DIY project is quite affordable, costing $30 to $35 depending on what soap dispenser you choose to use (or you can also use the one that you already have). But the main costs are the electronic bits such as the Raspberry Pi Zero W, which costs around $10 and a speaker bonnet from Adafruit which sells for around $13. You can buy both of these from Adafruit's website.
It will take a bit of work and you will need some wood or plastic to make the box to hold the soap, a soldering iron, wire cutters, a knife or a pair of scissors and a few other tools as you prepare to assemble your scrubber. It might get a little over budget if you don't have some of the things lying around. However, if you are a seasoned DIYer, it should'nt be too hard.
If you know how to code that will be awesome, but don't worry if you don't as that is already taken care of in the GitHub instructions, so all you need to do is copy and paste.
The DIY instructions on GitHub are quite simple and easy to understand for anyone who has the patience and the willingness to build something interesting. You may also need to Google a few things.
A good pastime while staying at home
Deeplocal's Scrubber soap dispenser seems like a practical and fun project, despite it sounding a little complicated. But it is far better than singing Happy Birthday several times a day. Besides, what else are you going to do while your stuck at home anyway, do get creative and start DIY-ing. It will also be a fun learning experience for kids if you plan on doing this with them.