Israeli-invented ‘Soapy’ sinks help save lives from COVID-19

Soapy has reinvented the concept of the sink to help ensure that in the environments where its most important - such as hospitals and schools - hands are really getting clean.

Soapy micro-station (photo credit: Courtesy)
Soapy micro-station
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The coronavirus crisis has heightened the world’s attention toward proper hygiene, which is considered a key component in preventing the spread of the disease. An Israeli company, Soapy, has brought hand hygiene into the 21st Century.
“We have drones, self-driving cars, and so many other things supporting our environment,” said company founder and CEO Max Simonovsky. “What we found is that when you go back to something so basic like hand hygiene, you don’t have any smart tools to support you.”
Until recently.
Soapy has reinvented the concept of the sink to help ensure that in the environments where its most important - such as hospitals and schools - hands are really getting clean.
The company offers AI-enhanced, internet-connected, eco-friendly, hygiene micro-stations that help users wash their hands according to standards set by the World Health Organization.
The system offers step-by-step guidance for an optimal wash with every use, tracking how well you do and letting you know in real time. The system has instant and unlimited warm water and a special proprietary hand soap. Yet, it uses 95% less water and 60% less soap than washing at a regular sink, the company literature claims.
If customized, Soapy sinks offer user recognition, temperature measurement and instant high temperature notifications - essential in the coronavirus era. 
The company offers a similar platform for hand sanitizing gel. 
Sheba Medical Center has already implemented the both systems throughout its coronavirus wards and at other key locations across the hospital to help ensure good hygiene for its medical and other staff. 
“Sheba installed the units … to provide staff with a simple and supportive tool to make sure they can sanitize their hands - to keep employees safe and the patients safe,” Simonovsky told The Jerusalem Post. He said the decision to install Soapy was made by Dr. Gili Regev-Yochay, who runs the hospital’s Infectious Disease Epidemiology unit but also is responsible for overseeing the testing and implementation of new technologies for COVID-19 at the medical center. Sheba confirmed.
“One of the main risks in the coronavirus department is not coronavirus - the patients already have it - but the other diseases or infections that might complicate the treatment of the patients,” Simonovsky said. “We want to make sure that if you have someone going into the department with another disease that it will not spread around.”
The other aspect is the real-time feedback. First, doctors and other staff receive feedback if they have washed their hands well, so they can feel more confident about it. Moreover, since the machines are taking the user’s temperature at multiple points during the washing, someone who might have come into work healthy but started to develop symptoms throughout the day could be caught earlier - before he or she has a chance to spread the virus. 
Finally, since all the information that is collected through the system’s unique sensor is sent to the “Soapy Wisdom” cloud and analyzed, ultimately it can spit back how the hospital or other location is doing, which can help gauge the hand cleanliness quality of the whole business. 
“It’s about understanding what you cannot see in terms of disease and spread of disease from your hands to everyone around you,” Simonovsky said. 
When Simonovsky and his partner Alex Orlovsky founded the company, coronavirus did not exist. The idea came from a conversation Simonovsky had with his young child about why washing hands is important. 
The first Soapy prototypes were designed to fit schools in rural areas with little access to clean water – helping in the prevention of child morbidity and mortality. But they quickly learned that hand hygiene was not only a third-world challenge - the food industry, elder care facilities and schools could all benefit from such a solution.
It took them three years of research and four prototypes to create the modern Soapy micro-stations. Now, they are deployed in 12 countries. 
Since COVID-19, business has grown so much it is hard to keep up with the demand, Simonovsky said.
Their website includes a section dedicated to the virus with a note that “Soapy hygiene micro-stations can help to halt the spread of COVID-19 and literally save lives.”