As the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus, more and more designers are using their skills to help keep us safe. From new ways to open doors to concepts for air travel, design is paving a new normal for what post-Covid life will look like. As we remain more conscious about what we touch and the germs we’re spreading, even small things like pedestrian crossings become a point of contamination. That’s where Foreward comes in.
The Australian designers noticed that people were looking for a hands-free solution to pressing the button at pedestrian crossings. In fact, they observed that some people had even resorted to kicking it, even though these buttons are placed at waist height. So, working together with ODO and Greenpoint Media, they designed Dropkick. This simple solution allows pedestrians the satisfaction of pressing the button while keeping their hands clean.
Dropkick is a pill-shaped aluminum button that can be placed at the base of any traffic pole. It’s backlit to ensure visibility and easily allows for pedestrians to activate it with the tap of their foot. The button can be a stand-alone solution or used in tandem with standard height pedestrian buttons.
Interestingly, Foreward notes that in many cities, pedestrian crossings are activated using sensors or timers based on the time of day. The buttons often remain in place as a placebo. “Could it be that these buttons exist for the sole purpose of satisfying the human need of feeling as though they have actively done something to reduce waiting times, much like the ‘close’ button in elevators,” the firm writes. “We suspect that there could not be a replacement for the tactility of a physical button.”
To that end, Dropkick allows for action without the worry of germs. It’s been shown that traces of the coronavirus have been found on stainless steel for up to 72 hours and there is the concern that constant sanitization could only cause certain bacteria to grow stronger. The foot-activated button is an interesting alternative that gives people more choice as they move back into the world.