He invented a device for timing the washing of hands

Il invente un dispositif pour chronométrer le lavage des mains

From the top of its 11 years old, a young resident of Boischatel, near Quebec city, has demonstrated ingenuity during the containment, who has developed a device to ensure that the members of his family wash their hands for 20 seconds, not one less.

When his school was closed due to the pandemic, Theo Senécal decided to learn to run a programming kit intriguing that had been offered to him at Christmas, in the previous year.

For his parents, who know nothing of the field of programming, the directions that came with the kit were nothing more than gibberish. But for Theo, who is self-taught and curious nature, it was the beginning of a new project.

“At the beginning of the confinement, he was looking for what to do. He started to scour the internet to know how to do, and then he had his idea. Nobody talked about nothing. […] It is really resourceful, ” says his mother, Virginia Massicotte.


What he has received as a gift is actually an electronic card that is compatible with the coding platform Arduino, which is used in particular in the field of education.

Using a programming software and attaching it to the map sensors or accessories, we can make it do many tasks, like turn on a light or start an engine.

In this case, Theo has connected a motion detector and installed it all near a sink. “Basically, when someone goes to wash their hands, it will detect the motion and from a cycle “, he explains.

The lights light up to indicate that time passes, and after 20 seconds – minimum time recommended by the public Health –, a buzzer sounds.

“I still took a lot of time. At the beginning, the first prototypes didn’t work or I had small problems, but I eventually get there, ” says the young man.


His invention earned him a nomination in a talent competition of its municipality. “I’m quite proud of my little man,” said his mom.

Despite his young age, Theo already has an idea of what he would like to do later in life : be an engineer. “Because I like to create things that can help people,” he says.

We can say that it already has a few qualities to realize this dream, while his system for timing the washing of hands is neither his first nor his last creation.

The child disassembled it using the programming card for other purposes and is now working on another device that would have to start watering the plants automatically in the garden of his mother.

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