Traditional taps run the risk of transmitting dirt and germs from the hand to the tap when turning it on, and transmitting them back to the just washed hand when turning the tap off. Kind of counter-productive. Touch sensitive taps like Delta’s Pilar kitchen faucet are one solution and the sensor activated taps often found in public toilets are another. Designer Jasper Dekker has come up with an even better option with his Spatial Interaction faucet - it allows users to control not only flow, but also temperature and stream type with a wave of a hand.

The faucet’s gesture control is made possible thanks to two arrays of infrared sensors located on each side of the faucet. Performing a "come to me" gesture alongside the faucet sends water flowing out, with the speed of the gesture controlling the strength of the flow. Likewise, a gesture in the opposite direction will halt the water flow.

The sensors on the right side of the faucet are used to control cold water, while sensors on the left are used for hot water, with blue and red LEDs at the front of the faucet providing an easy way to check the water temperature without scolding your hands.

Hand gestures can also be used to set the water stream type. Water will start out as a standard stream, but placing a hand next to the faucet and moving it away from the side will change the output to a shower-like spray.

Dekker has built a fully working prototype with an enclosure milled out of a single block of Corian – a highly durable and non-porous material created by DuPont composed of acrylic polymer and alumina trihydrate that is commonly used in kitchen counter tops and bathroom vanity tops. The Corian enclosure encases Dekker’s homemade water control system made up of servos, copper tubing, solenoid valves and ball vales.

Dekker’s Spatial Interaction tap is still only at the prototype stage, but it’s not hard to envision his creation becoming a staple in hygiene conscious kitchens in the future.

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