British engineers create hand washing gadget


A team of British engineers from the automotive industry have developed an innovative product which aims to prevent the spread of germs and viruses.

Fitted above any sink, Wavewash is a light-up timer that is activated by a user with a wave of their hand. The timer gives users an indication of how long they should be washing their hands in order to remove germs and prevent the spread of viruses, including COVID-19.

Within just 30 days of the idea being conceived, the team has developed the product and begun production.

Wavewash is intended for use in a wide range of businesses to help staff and customers to wash their hands more thoroughly and meet their obligations under the government’s recently released COVID-19 guidance. This includes the requirement that workers are to be advised to regularly wash their hands for 20 seconds and should have the facilities to do so.

Wavewash is manufactured in Suffolk and created by a team of engineers from several companies in the automotive industry. The device can be installed above the sinks in businesses including those in retail and manufacturing, as well as in pubs, cafes and restaurants. It is also suitable for use at home. Wavewash can be of particular benefit in healthcare premises, helping staff, patients and visitors to wash their hands as part of their efforts to prevent the spread of infections and illnesses. 

Wavewash’s creation was inspired after its inventor, Robert Corke realised the need for a system which would encourage and help people to wash their hands long enough to remove harmful microorganisms.

Inventor of Wavewash, Robert Corke said: “As engineers, we’re all about finding practical, workable solutions to real world problems and so we’ve come together to create a gadget which we think will transform the way people wash their hands for the better.

“One of the simplest and most effective ways of preventing the spread of coronavirus and protecting ourselves and those around us from illness is to wash our hands more thoroughly. Doctors, nurses and health authorities around the world are urging us to wash our hands for 20 second using soap and water every time because it’s been proven that this removes almost all of the microorganisms which we can carry around on our hands.

“Unfortunately, even the most conscientious of us slip up from time to time, and even if we sing happy birthday or count elephants, most of us are also pretty bad at accurately counting 20 seconds in our heads. People also forget to wash as thoroughly as they should do and we all get tempted to cut corners here and there.

“Studies have shown that the average hand wash lasts just six seconds, so we developed Wavewash to help people to wash their hands properly. The device is discrete but easily noticed, reminding us of the need to wash our hands thoroughly and helping us to do it with its very simple and straightforward interface.”

One hundred Wavewash devices are now being offered to healthcare providers free of charge to help them combat coronavirus before it is to be officially launched to the public this month.

Wavewash is intended to play a key role in helping businesses to prepare for life after the nationwide lockdown comes to an end, when good hand hygiene is expected to be crucial.

As part of the government’s social distancing guidelines, every business is expected to advise workers to wash their hands using soap and water for 20 seconds regularly,  and should consider providing additional facilities to help with this. Wavewash can help companies to fulfil these requirements, reminding workers to wash their hands thoroughly and helping them to wash for 20 seconds every time.

Wavewash is a simple tech solution that works using a non-contact sensor, so there’s no need to touch the device at all. It can also be fitted to virtually any surface using screws or a self-adhesive pad that’s included and its smooth surface avoids the build-up of dirt and germs.

Wavewash partner, Martin Hurworth explains how the product was created so quickly despite the challenging business environment:

“Our team pulls together a wide range of skills and expertise from across the automotive industry and so we’re used to working within the constraints of just-in-time production with rapid prototyping and product development.

“When Rob told me his idea, we both recognised the need to act quickly, getting this product designed and into production as soon as possible so we can help to delay the spread of the virus. We came together from several companies to create Wavewash as a lean startup so we could get it ready to market fast.

“Since Rob first came up with the idea, it’s taken us less than 30 days to begin production, which is fantastic. We’re now giving away free units to healthcare providers to help them combat coronavirus and we’ll soon be ready to help more businesses. We’re very proud of Wavewash and we’re looking forward to it helping organisations and households across the country to improve hand hygiene.”

Health authorities around the world, including Public Health England and the NHS recommend that everyone should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and water to easily and effectively remove the microorganisms which can cause illness, including COVID-19 coronavirus.

Government advice for employers on social distancing during coronavirus (COVID-19), including advice for retailers, construction companies, manufacturers and logistics businesses can be found here.

Wavewash is expected to launch later this month. For more information about Wavewash, visit

Healthcare providers that would like to apply for free Wavewash units as part of the limited trial should contact or call 01603 343 727.