The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world as we know it — and the lives of everyone in it. Despite the prevalence of the vaccine, the virus appears here to stay, with frontline medical workers bearing the brunt of this harbinger of the new normal.
To ease the burden on medical facilities, the Enactus National Champion team from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia created an innovative approach to ensuring the safety — and efficiency — of healthcare workers.
“With the global scale of the pandemic and its domino effects, we believe it’s imperative to develop a solution that addresses the problem, as it has impacted society and our daily habits and won’t be disappearing anytime soon,” says Mary-Anne Williams, a member of the UNSW Enactus team.
The project, called Quicksan, incorporates an innovative app with a centralized reporting network into smart hand sanitizer dispensers using Internet of Things (IOT) technology. The goal is to solve two key problems: the lack of recyclability in current dispensers and the inability to track dispenser usage.
The project advances UN Sustainable Development Goals No. 3 (Good Health and Well-Being) and No. 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production). In addition to reducing the consumption of single-use plastics, Quicksan makes managing the supply of hand sanitizer more seamless, helping medical centers meet the surge in demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Quicksan aims to alleviate the issues that frontline medical staff and facilities face [with] inefficient systems in managing the re-stocking and storage of equipment and sanitary material,” Williams says. “With our automated hand sanitizer dispensers, equipped with an in-built sensory system to detect sanitizer volume and battery levels, users are notified efficiently and ahead of time to ensure sufficient supply.”
As challenging as it was for members to collaborate to create a prototype during lockdown, working with Intech Chemicals allowed the UNSW Enactus team to receive feedback and quickly develop iterations of the dispenser. They are currently in the process of creating their second prototype, with help from the Michael Crouch Innovation Centre at the university.
With 73 people from a range of backgrounds and disciplines, the UNSW Enactus team benefits from the diversity of thought it represents. The one thing that ties all team members together, Williams says, is a “passion for social impact” — and by integrating Quicksan’s technology into medical centers across the country and world, that’s exactly what they’re doing
The University of New South Wales will represent Australia at the Enactus World Cup starting 14 October 2021, where the team will present their project alongside 32 other Enactus National Champions. There, they will demonstrate their innovation in business and its impact on the world as they vie for their chance to become the Enactus World Champion.
Learn more and register to attend Enactus World Cup at enactus.org/worldcup.