Fall 2020 Design I Final Competition

Section Q: Baby Flying Avocados

Problem Statement: How might we prevent the spread of COVID-19 while individuals touch public doors?

Team Members: Gavin Graff, Sephia Lazzarino, Connor McGovern, Collin Bugash, and Dane Schuler

Instructor: Yosef Allam


  1. Hi Team, I really like this idea even when there is not a pandemic going on! I don’t think I am a germaphobe, but door handles are pretty gross. Nice job on a working prototype as well. Here are my questions:
    1) How heavy of a door can this open?
    2) How does it attach to a door? It looks like a few screws for a wooden door, but so many doors are not made of wood.
    3) Can it pull a door, or it is mainly for pushing?
    4) Will it work on all types of flooring?
    Cara Juergensen

    • Dear Professor Juergensen, thank you so much for the feedback on our prototype.

      1. The current model is attached to a 7 pound door and is capable of going up to roughly 12 pounds or slightly lower depending on the amount of grip available from the floor.

      2. The prototype is currently connected to the door using wood screws to hold it in place. In the next stage of prototyping, the team will design and test either a plastic clamp that will wrap around the bottom of the door or a magnetic strip connecting directly to the face of the door.
      3. In its current state the prototype is able to both push and pull the door open and closed.

      4. The current prototype has been tested on both hardwood floors and carpeting with slightly different results. Tests on hardwood flooring allowed the unit to freely move back and forward with greater pace compared to the carpet. On carpet the unit will occasionally slow down while it tries to find grip but is still able to complete a full cycle.

      Once again thank your feedback and thank you for your time.

  2. Dear team Baby Flying Avocados, thank you so much for the professional presentation. I especially liked how you gave an agenda in the beginning about what you will be presenting. I also commend you showing demonstration of your works-like prototype. As stated you are giving an alternative to replace the handicap automated door fixture. I think by law, accessibility guidelines are strict in common areas, so it seems like you will need to have this as an addition instead. What are your thoughts about this and how would you justify its implementation. Your prototype was made on a wooden door, how much more force will your final product need to open exterior doors that are relatively more heavy?

    • Good morning Professor Mattjik,

      Thanks again for your appreciation towards our team’s agenda and prototype demonstration. While researching the ADA door compliance, we had found that our attachment would intrude upon the 32″width requirement, but the solution decided upon was to attach this device to the outside of the door’s range of motion so that it would be not be an issue. The demonstration itself was placed on the inside of the range of motion in the video to better demonstrate one possible position for doors with a wider clearance. For the moment, the plan is to install our device on doors that have not been equipped with an automation feature such as automatic doors that use sensors or automated handicap doors that use buttons. Our team fully believes that this idea can be incorporated into accessibility guidelines as it still serves the disability community in a meaningful way and allows for reduced interaction between a user and the door-opening mechanism itself. As for your question regarding the amount of force to open exterior doors, the current prototype utilizes a 12 volt 50 RPM motor operating off of a 9 volt battery to open a 7 lb door while a standard 36″x80″ 70 lb door would require a higher voltage battery that would be attached alongside the current design in order to operate a motor capable of taking on 115 volts that would move at a speed comparable to current handicap doors. Thanks again for your keen interest in our design!

  3. Hi Team,

    Excellent job showing the functioning prototype!

    My question is similar to Mirna’s above – did you explore how this may or may not affect ADA compliance? I believe there are specific door clearance restrictions for the bottom of doors for handicap accessibility.

    Second, I see that it is less expensive than the automated handicap door alternative, but still at $261 per unit, that could get expensive for all the door at an institution – how would you justify that cost vs. something like extra hand sanitizer stations?

    • Hi Professor Littman,

      Thank you so much for the comments!

      For ADA compliance, our final version would have a motion sensor attachment which would allow the door to be widely used by anyone. This will make the door more easily opened by those who are disabled as there will no longer be a button to press but rather the device will recognize someone is there and simply just open the door. Also, under the ADA door regulations, handicap doors are not inherently required, but most doors need to be handicap accessible.

      As for the cost, we viewed the price as quite effective considering alternatives. The average handicap door is around $600 for installation. In terms of hand sanitizer, a stand up station costs around $150 pre refill cost. Though our product doesn’t fully cut out hand sanitizer, it will significantly reduce the number of refills required.

      Thank you again so much!

  4. Hi Team! I’m curious what type of doorknob latches this would be compatible with – standard latches, drive-in latches, dead-latches, deadbolt latches etc. Would any other modifications need to be made to do the door to integrate with the device?
    Also, does the device work on both sides of the door? (enter/exit)? Does the door close automatically x seconds after it’s been opened with the device? Is there the possibility to use the device to hold the door open?

    • Thank you for the feedback Professor Gravenor.

      This device is primarily targeted towards doors that swing open, but can be utilized for any type of doorknob latch if one of two things occur. The first thing would simply be propping the door open with the device by a tiny amount so there would be no need to unlock any mechanism and the device would perform as usual. The second option would be to hold the latch in the open state while the door is shut to make the device able to open the door. Other than these options, there would not be any other modifications needed to integrate the device with a door. As for entering and exiting, the wheel has the ability to spin both directions so putting it on the other side of a door for an exit would not be an issue. The device is preprogrammed to hold the door open for a specific amount of time which can be changed depending on the needs of the buyer. The door can be held for any desired amount of time and then closed once the time has run out.