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Texas A&M students create hands-free sanitary door opener

"We wanted to do what we could do to help local businesses keep their customers safe."

SAN ANTONIO — Austin Burt, Jorge Arroyo and Jack Cooper didn't plan on being inventors. But when the pandemic hit back in March, it got them thinking.

The trio of Texas A&M seniors saw businesses struggling to stay open and found a way to help.

"We wanted to do what we could do to help local businesses keep their customers safe," Cooper said.

"We just wanted to be a shining light in everything that's going on," Burt added.

Over the last several months, they've been working on a new product that's officially on the market: The Sanitary Pull. It's meant to stop the spread of germs.

"We've seen lots of places that have plexiglass coverings, hand sanitizers at the door," Arroyo said. "We're just trying to help out and add to that."

Here's how it works: The Sanitary Pull is installed at the bottom of both sides of a door. When you walk up to said door, you tuck your toes under the product to pull it open.

You can imagine how the product is meant to help keep surfaces clean. 

"Ultimately, by reducing the contact points, it allows customers to feel safe," Cooper said.

While there are similar products, the young entrepreneurs said none of them offered a natural mechanism. Through research and testing human muscle behavior, they created a more "user-friendly" design.

"We saw the need and thought we'd go with it," Arroyo said. "We kind of just thought there should be another option to keep your hands clean after you wash them."

It's a step in the right direction for businesses in an uphill battle. Burt, Arroyo and Cooper are also developing other products related to the Sanitary Pull. They plan to continue doing their part to improve public health and safety.

Burt and Arroyo are both from Boerne. They study at TAMU's College of Agriculture with a specific focus on renewable energy and natural resources. They met Cooper, who's from Houston, while attending the university; he studies in the college of engineering with a specific focus on industrial distribution.