don't touch the handle: slow coronavirus spread by 3D printing a hands-free door opener

don't touch the handle: slow coronavirus spread by 3D printing a hands-free door opener

while the door handle is one of the most germ infested common objects, digital fabrication studio materialise designs and 3D prints a hands-free door opener in the wake of the spreading coronavirus. in the project’s  development, the team’s risk prevention advisors conducted a careful analyses on how viruses spread, and confirmed that by using covered arms in lieu of bare hands, we can work together to avoid further passing on COVID-19. in the continued mission to build a better and healthier world, materialise shares its digital files so that individuals and companies worldwide may 3D print a hands-free door opener in their houses, hospitals, factories, and elderly homes.

coronavirus door handle
images by materialise



to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, the team at materialise designs its hands-free door handle with easy installation in mind. simple to both use and install, the process does not require the user to drill holes nor replace the door’s handle. the setup calls for the user only to fasten two 3D-printed pieces together with screws over the existing handle. the nature of the digital fabrication process enables the engineers at materialise to quickly generate solutions for atypical scenarios. within twenty-four hours, the team creates, test, and validates its first hands-free door opener because of the flexibility and freedom of design through 3D printing. anyone can play a part in minimizing the spread of coronavirus by contacting a door handle with sleeved arms, and by downloading a free design file to print from home or commission through a local 3D printing firm.

coronavirus door handle
no need to replace your door handle, installation requires no drilling holes

coronavirus door handle
3D file available to download free of cost, to be printed anywhere

coronavirus door handle 
materialise offers a graphic to be printed and displayed above door handles

coronavirus door handle
mayo clinic tweets: ‘in a hospital setting it is even more important… we’ve already started printing some

technical information video featuring design engineer roman plaghki of materialise



project info:


project title: hands-free door opener

design: materialise

studio location: headquarters in belgium, with locations worldwide

  • Unfortunately, the model with the “extent” to avoid rotation is not available. This makes that models without that part need to be hard screwed, with the risk of breaking it.

  • Erm… Can’t you just use your arms to operate handles like that? That’s what I have been doing: use your arm to lower the handle and hook it in to pull the handle when closing the door. It’s not rocket science.

    I like the idea someone mentioned here — using your feet. Why not hook some long 3D printed part to the handle which allows people to push down with their feet?

  • I sent this along to Gov. Cuomo’s office. Excellent work. Tx

  • Only now the pathogen is transferred from sleeve to sleeve. Even on a N95 respirator, the virus lives on the front surface of textile. This is why respirators must be removed by the straps and immediately discarded.

    Matthew Hoey
  • Adrian Monk will love it 🙂
    Joking aside: I have already seen foot controlled door openers in some lavatories at French airports decades ago. And I was always wondering why the rest of the world did not copy the idea. But wait – it COSTS something. Well, now it costs only lifes…

  • This is good, rapid response & accessible.
    Could you turn similar ingenuity towards taps (faucets) to
    make the elbow operated like a hospital scrub room.

    John Abraham
  • All thumbs up! Makes me really think about getting a printer asap – also for our own private doors.
    Only…it looks like it can only be used for round handles…most handles we have are oval. Dunno if these would hold?


have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

design news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
507,373 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample
designboom magazine