Method and Apparatus to Assure the Washing of Hands
Publication Date: 2004-Jan-09
The IP.com Prior Art Database
A method and apparatus to assure the washing of one's hands is disclosed herein. It is known in the prior art to assure washing of hands by marking one's hands with an easily identifiable substance when one does something where the washing of hands is desirable. This invention relates to a different mode of this concept wherein the person whose hands are to be marked is fitted with a device which indicates his entry into an area where handwashing is desired. The location sensitive device sets off an alarm (possibly on a delayed basis) unless said person uses his hand(s) to disactivate the alarm by engaging an actuating means. A marking mechanism containing the easily identifiable substance is integral with or coupled to the actuating means. Accordingly, once in the area where handwashing is desired the person must disactivate the alarm and in doing so his hand(s) is marked by the marking mechanism. After marking the person's hand, they must then wash their hands or have it be obvious they have not washed their hands.
This invention relates to a particular mode of the method and apparatus inventions for hand washing disclosed in United States Patents numbers: 6,147,607; 6,031,461; and 6,211,788 (hereinafter, referred to as the “Lynn patents” which are incorporated herein by reference). This particular mode describes one method (of many) to assure that when a person enters an area where the washing of hands is necessary that they are forced to engage an actuating member (coupled with or integral with a marking mechanism) which in turn marks their hands as described in the Lynn patents.
In this particular mode, a person entering a sanitary area (e.g. a doctor entering a hospital room or a chef entering a restaurant kitchen) has been fitted with some type of location sensing device. The location device is designed such that it will be triggered by the entry into the sanitary area. Devices such as GPS (global positioning systems), RF devices and so forth are well known in the art and one such system is disclosed in US Patent 5,610,589. Similar devices are also used in many retail stores to trigger an alarm when a customer leaves the store with an item that has not been paid for.
The ultimate goal is to assure that one entering a sanitary area washes their hands. As described by the Lynn patents a highly desirable way to assure the washing of hands is by marking the hands. In accordance with this particular mode, once the location sensing device has been triggered, it will be necessary for the person wearing or have been fitted with the location sensing device to engage an actuating member which is coupled to or integral with a marking mechanism. If the actuating/marking mechanism is not engaged (and thus not marking the hands of the person) then the location sensing device is designed to make such lack of marking very obvious as described immediately below. This can be done in a great variety of ways. Examples include setting off some type of an alarm if marking is not done within some certain time period or by entering the failure to mark the hands into a data base. On the other hand, if the person engages the actuating/marking mechanism then it could be designed to acknowledge this desired marking. This acknowledgement could also be done in any of a number of diff...