scroll

To Touch Or Not To Touch

Back to Blog Articles
25 March 2021

Touchless technology can be defined as any device that can be used or operated without being physically touched. Now more than ever, this technology is in high demand. Many workplaces are looking for innovative solutions to make communal spaces safer, and ideally, more resistant to outbreaks. 

As children of the 70s, we were encouraged to play outside and get dirty in the name of fun. Invariably, this exposed us to all kinds of bacteria and germs, which our parents believed would build up a healthy immune system.

Fast forward to 2020 – how times have changed! Most notably, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has forever altered how we interact with one another, and the physical elements of our world. While we are all still navigating what a ‘COVID normal’ future looks like, the minimisation of hand contact with our built environment is definitely something that’s here to stay.

A big part of this transition is the continued increase of touchless technology, particularly in public spaces. 

 

What is touchless technology? 

 
Touchless technology can be defined as any device that can be used or operated without being physically touched. Now more than ever, this technology is in high demand. Many workplaces are looking for innovative solutions to make communal spaces safer, and ideally, more resistant to outbreaks. 

 

Touchless technology comes in a range of formats. Gesture recognition technology can be used to unlock doors with just the wave of a hand. When combined with automatic door openers, this technology allows for doors on an accessible path to be opened and closed without the need for the user to physically touch the door hardware.

Voice and facial recognition technology are also on the rise. In the voice area, many personal assistant devices – including Alexa, Google Assistance and Apple’s Siri – allow users to make hands-free requests with simple, audible commands. Facial recognition also requires minimal physical interaction from the user, with the technology being increasingly used for authentication and access purposes, as well as the enhancement of accessibility. 

The near universal nature of smartphones and other personal devices has also made touch-free technology more accessible for everyone. Through the use of a mobile voice app or voice activation technology, wheelchair or mobility aid users can more easily engage with critical access points - all without having to make physical contact with a door handle or push button control. 

 

Touchless technology for the post-COVID workplace

In the face of a lingering pandemic, workplaces around Australia must provide a safe and healthy environment for both staff and visitors. This means that touchless technology is only going to increase in popularity, variety and importance. Reducing the physical need for all users to touch common points is one clear way to minimise transmission risks and promote a healthier workspace.  

 

Many workplaces are looking into what combination of different touchless technologies will work best for them. Along with gesture, facial and voice recognition, the implementation of other touchless technology devices is being explored within the built environment to reduce the spread of viral infections. Some of these include: 

 

Automatic hand sanitation stations at building entrances, reception counters and common use lift lobby zones
QR codes for touchless check-in at reception counters for staff and visitors in lieu of touch screens
Infrared (I.R.) sensors to activate lights, negating the need for physical contact with light switches.    
 

Without a doubt, the pandemic has forever changed the landscape of the built environment and how we move within it. As a community, we all need to work together to reduce the spread of germs that can survive on solid surfaces for several hours, and sometimes days.

 

In this rapidly evolving design landscape, touchless technology – and its integration into how future buildings – is just one part of the solution to this pressing health and safety need. 
 
By Colin Earle 

 

 

Contact us

Have a
Question?

Please complete the email form and we will come back to you as soon as possible. Alternatively you can contact us directly using the contact details on the right

Our Offices

Sydney
Studio 6, Level 1
56 Bowman Street
Pyrmont NSW, 2009
(02) 9692 9322
Melbourne
Unit 304, 87 Gladstone St
South Melbourne, VIC 3205
(03) 9690 0102
Brisbane
99 Kingfisher Road
Victoria Point
Brisbane QLD, 4165
0476 299 321
Perth
24 Mumford Place
Balcatta, Perth, WA, 6021
0414 576 891
Wollongong
Unit 1, 27 Atchison Street
Wollongong, NSW, 2500
(02) 4226 2071