April 24, 2009 Automatic faucets are a good idea, they're convenient, hygienic and big water savers, but many of us who've encountered these "smart taps" in public washrooms would be familiar with the inordinate amount of hand-waving that's sometimes required to actually make them work. Fontaine believes it has the answer with its new line of Sensa Field automatic faucets. Rather than relying on motion activated Infrared sensors which have a tendency to cut out mid-rinse, these taps utilize a capacitive omni-directional sensing zone around the spout which the company says guarantees activation the first time.

The Radius Technology incorporated into the Sensa Field faucet creates a 3” activation area around the tap, so water starts to flow when a hand approaches the spout from any direction and stays on as long as the hands are within range. The design includes a proprietary (dry) cam gear to separate the electronics from the water flow, improving longevity and reliability.

The faucets are designed for domestic bathrooms with quick connect hoses for easy installation and the added minimalist edge of having no handles. According to Fontaine the Sensa Field can operate for up to 7 years on a set of 4 D Batteries (an optional A/C power supply can be purchased separately) and save up to 70% in water consumption. - a key benefit of this technology given the stress on water resources and increasing costs of domestic supply.

There's a range of Sensa Field designs available (see gallery) and prices range from USD$300 to $400.

Anne Hanrahan