A silver-based coating that kills any bacteria with which it comes into contact may soon appear on many more public surfaces, if Advanced Finishing USA president Greg Yahn has his way. His company adds the coating, called Agion silver, to hospital doors, and he enlisted the help of professors and students at Pennsylvania State University-Erie to find more uses for the material and figure out a way to market it. The students applied it to door handles throughout certain campus buildings, and later tests showed that the treated handles were noticeably cleaner.
What’s the Big Idea?
Agion silver is used on objects ranging from heart valves and catheters to pens and shoes. However, most people aren’t aware of its antimicrobial properties, and in fact, says Yahn, the clear finish his company uses doesn’t give any clues that it’s even there. To help increase awareness, the students built a marketing campaign and interviewed shoppers to learn about their germaphobic tendencies. Ultimately, they want to create an industry-standard logo that can be applied to treated surfaces, letting people know that they can touch those surfaces without needing to pull out the hand sanitizer afterwards.
In 2011, as a Google Science Communication fellow, I spent several days with other scientists and academics at the company’s headquarters learning about new tools and strategies for engaging the public […]