Wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds -- that's the key advice from the World Health Organization during the coronavirus outbreak. This is commonly touted as the length of time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice, and while that's a helpful and accessible metric, it's gotten old real fast. Birthdays will never be the same again. Design technology company Deeplocal has come up with an alternative, though: a DIY musical soap dispenser that'll save your sanity and give you a project to tinker with while you're stuck indoors.
The Scrubber project fits a tiny speaker to a soap dispenser, and connects to your most played Spotify tracks of the week. When you press down on the pump, you'll hear 20 seconds of your favorite tunes direct from the dispenser -- a far more enjoyable way of timing hygienic handwashing. You'll need a soap dispenser, a Spotify account and few electronic parts, including a Raspberry Pi W Zero, an Adafruit Speaker Bonnet, a few inches of thin wire and a bit of copper tape.
The code and assembly instructions are available (for free) on Deeplocal's GitHub, as part of its "Cabin Fever" series, a run of fun and useful maker projects that aims to apply some creative engineering to the exploratory work needed during these strange times. Of course, a musical soap dispenser is not, in itself, a hugely radical concept (kids have been brushing their teeth with musical toothbrushes for years), but it makes for an afternoon of simple and enjoyable DIY, and will undoubtedly make the constant handwashing feel like less of a chore.