9yr old Kenyan boy invents hands-free hand-washing machine

Children wash their hands. A young boy in Kenya has invented a wooden pedal-operated machine for washing hands so that people don’t have to touch taps. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

KENYA – Nine-year-old Kenyan Stephen Wamukota has invented a hands-free hand-washing device that is operated using foot pedals and is made entirely out of wood, reports China Plus South Africa.

The invention, which requires no electricity, has two pedals. Pushing down with your left foot sets off a mechanism that distributes liquid soap from a squeeze bottle. 

Then, pushing down on the second pedal with your right foot turns a water container, allowing you to rinse the soap off your hands. Another container collects the dirty water so that it doesn’t spill at your feet.

Young Stephen resides in Bungoma, Kenya, which lies close to the East African country’s western border with Uganda and Lake Victoria. He came up with the idea after observing people at his local market, watching a TV programme where they assemble toy cars, and hearing Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s information on how Covid-19 infects others through touching surfaces and one another.

Stephen revealed that after seeing how toy cars were assembled, he realised he could also produce a similar mechanism, but for hand-washing.

His proud father, James Wamukota, remembers the moment his son thought of the idea. “He went to the market and saw people using jerrycans where the tap is blocked with a screw. So everyone who wants to use it had to touch it. Won’t that make them catch coronavirus?” he asked.

On what was thought to be a normal day, James went to work as usual and arrived home at the end of the day to find Stephen’s hands-free hand-washing structure built.

James invested roughly $28 (3 000 Kenyan shillings) in his son’s invention after seeing what he had produced and then went on to help finish the project.

According to Daily Nation, the invention has been the talk of the town as residents come from all over to marvel at Stephen’s invention. Residents have praised him and urged Kenya as a whole to embrace the economical and innovative device.

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