This Hands-Free Door Handle is Helping Fight the Covid-19 Pandemic
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TBWA\Helsinki teams with energy company Fortum to help save humanity and the environment
Clean-energy company Fortum joins forces with the biggest retail chain in Finland to fight the topical Covid-19 pandemic. Fortum Vipu - a sustainable hands-free door handle made of Fortum Circo recycled plastic - is piloted starting from Monday 20th of April in Helsinki, to prevent further spread of the virus. Fortum is the biggest manufacturer of recycled plastic in the Nordics. Together with their agency TBWA\Helsinki, they designed FortumVipu: a supplement enabling you to open doors with your arm, thus avoiding infections. The entire product design process from concept to piloting was squeezed into just five weeks.
Public places are hot spots for contagious diseases and good hand hygiene is key in preventing infections. To help in the ongoing fight against the pandemic, Fortum, a clean-energy company and the consumer plastic packaging recycler in Finland developed the handle, Fortum Vipu (Virus Prevention Unit). Made out of Fortum Circo®, a versatile recycled raw material produced of consumer plastic packaging waste that is sorted and collected from Finnish households, the handle gives waste plastic a new life all whilst protecting people. It’s a simple add-on to existing door handles, allowing people to open doors with their arm, minimising touching the handles with their palms and fingers.
"At TBWA\Helsinki, our clients expect more than just advertising from us. We seek genuine opportunities for brands to make a difference. And because speed is essential, we started our own Innovation Lab a couple of years ago. It allows our clients to have prototypes, pilots and even ready-for-market products in a much shorter timespan than usual. FortumVipu is a great example of this. Covid-19 is here and now, so Fortum couldn’t wait for months or years for Vipu to hit the stores", says innovation director, Juhana Hokkanen.
Fortum brand manager Jussi Mälkiä continued: “To help fight Covid-19, our interactions with the built environment need to be hands-free. 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 project is piloted with Finland’s biggest retailer S-group to gather user experience for further product development.