Hey, Jake here - inventor of Doorman™. Curious about how we got started? Well here's the full backstory...
Last year (before most people had even heard of COVID-19), I was at work when I noticed my friend avoid touching the bathroom door at seemingly all costs – it looked like an awkward dance. And he wasn’t alone. I noticed several coworkers using their sleeves, feet, and paper towels to avoid touching the germ-covered handle.
I could sympathize with their rationale, but I thought, “this is awkward and inconvenient.” My engineering senses were tingling. So, I got to work on a solution.
I put pen to paper. Then came the prototypes. Lots of them. The apartment looked like a war zone covered in cardboard, duct tape, and plastic scraps. The 3D printer worked overtime. Eventually, Doorman™ began to show promise. But, just as the momentum was building, life got in the way. We thought, “it’s got potential, but how many people are that concerned about germs?” The project was shelved.
It only took a pandemic to change our minds. Now, it was clear everyone was cautious of shared touchpoints. Now, I had a responsibility to bring my idea to market to enable others to protect themselves when venturing out in public.
That’s when the real work began. We resurrected Doorman™. The initial prototypes were acceptable, but not yet exceptional. So I went back to the drawing board. I tried dozens of opening mechanisms - pivots, sliders, springs, rubberbands - you name it – before landing on the final mechanism.
Now, it was time to select a material. I needed the formability, flexibility, low friction, and lightweight qualities that plastics offer. And I didn’t choose just any plastic - this is engineered, fiber-reinforced Polycarbonate. The same stuff you trust your eyesight with when you put on safety glasses, only stronger. I ran my calculations and designed it to handle the heaviest of doors (and then some).
Next, I wanted to guarantee that it could operate all common commercial door handles. So, I went out and measured a few hundred of them myself to dimension the hook accordingly. At last, it was highly functional, but it wasn’t comfortable yet.
This is a product that is used continually throughout the day, so we couldn’t skimp on comfort. Of course, anyone can claim their product is “ergonomic,” but we all know that’s often an empty statement. We made sure to back up that claim, so we iterated specifically on the handle shape until it was satisfying to hold and use for just about any hand size, without being too bulky to slip into a pocket.
So, we’re done, right? Nope. It needed more. To fully enclose the hook, the handle needed a lid. Dual tips to turn locks and more easily push door handles. A soft coating on the hook to better grip surfaces and protect delicate surfaces (like your rideshare driver’s door handle).
At long last, Doorman™ was ready. Nearly a year after the idea for Doorman™ first came to mind, it's finally available for you.