- Joel Polychronopoulos
- Maia Heysen
They say the handshake is dead. We beg to differ. As much as we are at the forefront of unprecedented circumstances, and masks getting all the attention, we turn to the lost intimacy of human interaction. For now the kiss on the cheek and the beloved holding of a loved one in our arms’ embrace seems a fair way off due to health concerns. However, the simple gesture and outreach of friendship, kindness and respect is said to also find itself with the same prohibition, and understandably so.
Instead of accepting the circumstance, or accepting the risk, we looked immediately at the biology that dictates possibility for innovation. The construct of the forearm to allow the hand to rotate, say from a friend’s hand, or a door handle, to our face is the act of supination. The inverse of this is pronation, where we rotate the radius over the ulna. In effect, the upper forearm near the elbow remains still while muscles in our forearm allow the wrist and hand to rotate 180 degrees.
The half glove, constructed of a washable semi-rigid plant-derived rubber ‘naturalprene’ material with a padded velcro attachment, allows the wearer to grasp a handful of whatever they please, and not be in fear of transference to their face. The half glove also provides an inverse barrier where bacteria from the hand isn’t transferred to a contacted surface made by a pronated hand. So go get a handfull, because what is life but that.
Exploiting the biology of this movement allows the possibility for a solution. Where gloves have been found ineffective due to the nature of people still touching their face with them on, or needing to dispose of them after each use, we have designed a half glove that allows that hand to rotate freely and without restriction of conduct. This simple strategy allows the continuation locally and world-over of intimate contact without the transference of risk.
Despite health concerns appearing to be a complex issue, it appears that simple, unique and innovative solutions are ever apparent when we look to existing bio-mechanical and social frameworks we can work within rather than constructing new ones and severely altering our way of life.