Finally, dry hands

By Gene Nakonechny, April 12, 2005

    Winners of the mechanical engineering design competition, from left, Brett Jermyn, Paul Catrona, Mike Whitby, Stuart Evans and Graham Dickinson, present their hands-free, roll-towel dispensing machine. Photo credit: Chantall Van Raay
Engineering design students at McMaster University may have solved the problem of drying your hands after washing them in a public washroom.

They have developed a hands-free, roll-towel dispensing machine that presents the customer with a folded towel. The double thickness of the towel eliminates the problem of wet hands weakening the towel strength and tearing, resulting in partially dry hands.

The winning concept was created by a team of five students participating in a mechanical engineering design competition at McMaster. The competition was organized by the Away From Home Division of Scott Paper Limited in Mississauga, Ontario and Mukesh Jain, associate professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering at McMaster.

Paul Cutrona, Graham Dickinson, Stuart Evans, Brett Jermyn and Michael Whitby, all enrolled in the third-year mechanical engineering design course at McMaster, were presented with a winning prize of $7,500 at an award ceremony today.

Scott Paper will also integrate the successful mechanical design into its comprehensive product development process, taking it through prototype, testing and pre-production project phases.

Second place and $5,000 went to the team of Ryan Catton, Byron McKay, Drew Grandy and James Dunnett. Third place and $2,500 went to the team of Micah Fuller, Fahad Jang, Jonathan Ho, Vincent Wang, Dom Wong and Mike Au Yeung. The competition was held from January to April 2005.

The Away from Home Division of Scott Paper Limited initiated the mechanical design competition as part of its plans to offer a completely new, innovative line of paper dispensers and accessories. The company chose the Faculty of Engineering at McMaster University because of its highly regarded mechanical engineering department and its approach to innovation and design.