Beijing: A group of seven Chinese students has bagged a top international prize for inventing a machine that uses air for cleaning hands and saves water.
The device works by stepping on a peddle which mixes compressed air with a small amount of water vapour, allowing the user to efficiently blow the bacteria and dirt from their hands, said Shi Yukun, one of the inventors from Zhejiang University.
"The equipment will save 90 per cent of the water, while achieving the same result as washing hands with water," he said.
The seven students spent a year creating the device, which took home top prize at the two-day Global Grand Challenge Summit (GGCS) in Beijing.
The summit is co-organised by Chinese Academy of Engineering, the US National Academy of Engineering and British Royal Academy of Engineering, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
"We studied the function of water in the hand-washing process. Very few of the stains on our hands can be dissolved with liquid,?but most of the dirt and bacteria have to be washed away by flowing water. We decided to use high-speed air to blow it away, rather than wash it away," Yukun said.
The group beat 13 other contestant groups from some of the world's top universities, including Cambridge University and Hong Kong University.
They shared a thousand-dollar start-up fund provided by the summit organisers.
"We will use the money as start-up for our efforts to invent and produce water-saving equipment," Yukun said.
The first GGCS summit was held in London in 2013.