TipTapTop saves water while making hand-washing "fun" for kids


August 12, 2014

TipTapTop attaches to a faucet to make hand-washing more effective, more eco-friendly and more fun for kids

TipTapTop attaches to a faucet to make hand-washing more effective, more eco-friendly and more fun for kids

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Dyson Award season is rolling around again, showcasing the work of young engineers and designers from around the globe. Here's one French entrant aimed at teaching kids how to wash their hands in a hygienic manner without wasting water, while trying to make it as fun as possible. The 3D-printed TipTapTop might end up being an incredibly annoying thing to have in your bathroom, but the way it goes about its job is quite clever.

TipTapTop is a water balloon-sized, 3D-printed gadget that attaches to the tap faucet in your bathroom. Once it's attached, you turn the taps on and let it manage the water flow. When your kids (or alternatively, your adults) go to wash their hands, they wave them under a sensor that starts the water flow and triggers a very perky little audio jingle that talks them through the hand-washing process.

"I'm here to show you how to wash your hands to get rid of bad microbes!"

"Put some soap in your hands and scrub until it makes bubbles! Remember the palms, back of hands, between fingers and wrists!"

"Well done! Now rinse your hands, and send the soap, bubbles and the germs down the drain!"

I'd say I could go through the process a dozen times, tops, before becoming homicidal. But children have a much higher tolerance for these things.

In order to save water, the tap is turned off automatically during the scrubbing section, and again after the wash is done. The clever bit is how TipTapTop powers itself using a miniature hydroelectric generator to harness the pressurized water to top up a 9-volt rechargeable battery. According to the inventors, it generates an excess of power even once the audio and sensor circuits are accounted for, so the jingle never has to stop!

It's all a bit much for me, personally, and the device itself looks too big to fit in all sinks, but it could provide the necessary prodding to get youngsters washing up effectively. We wish the TipTapTop crew all the best in the upcoming Dyson Awards.

You can see the "fun" process in the video below.

Source: TipTapTop

About the Author
Loz Blain Loz has been one of Gizmag's most versatile contributors since 2007. Joining the team as a motorcycle specialist, he has since covered everything from medical and military technology to aeronautics, music gear and historical artefacts. Since 2010 he's branched out into photography, video and audio production, and he remains the only Gizmag contributor willing to put his name to a sex toy review. A singer by night, he's often on the road with his a cappella band Suade. All articles by Loz Blain

A very nice (non violent) students' project aim to solve some of the problems kids can have with hand washing.

I would be more enthusiastic then Loz Blain about this self powered cool open source device, as this is just a prototype : different messages (depending on the date and time of the day fro exemple), different languages, a water flow display, etc.. can be added...whatever electricity can turn on ! The sound could be turned off if it gets on you nerve.

Ain't it cool to save water & energy and help children to wash their hand in a fun way ? The planet needs this kind of stuff, especially in kinder gardens.

Thumbs up guys ;-)


I tend to side more with Prof2Si.....I am also very keen to know where i can obtain a miniature hydroelectric generator . Its just the thing I am looking for with this current rain harvesting / grey water project that i am busy with. Can anybody direct me to where i can get a miniature hydroelectric generator ???


I'm also more interested in the hydro-electric generator. I'd love more specs on that part of this project.


Although the intention is admirable, one wonders how this was tested, and illustrated?

The little girl first rushes up to the tap, runs her hands under the water for a few seconds, grabs the towel, dries for another second or two, then runs away, of course leaving the water running. Probably fairly realistic, if they even get near a sink, or just simply rush out.

The need to not turn on the water and off again is great (somewhat large sensor to do that) but the initial reaction could also be that the facet is under repair, with a big unfamiliar bulbous device. a. The hand washing is completely forgone. b. The hands are simply rinsed, and the audio is ignored. c. The next person in line has to hear the whole spiel again, or a & b

Ideally the soap has to come from the same source, or close buy again automated dispensing.

Drying the hands is also important, and a dirty wet towel won't survive long.

Typically we have been told to dry with disposable paper towels, and use it to open the door on the way out, since 1.a is done more often than we know and is a prime germ spreader.

Sadly many offices (mine included) has gone the route of replacing the paper towels with air hand dryers.

These not only waste more time and power, and many people still don't wash. Now I have to touch a filthy door handle to get out, after having just washed up.

Disposable Paper towels are compostable, and the trees are renewable, not to mention faster to complete the drying cycle versus air dryers.

Touch less all the way, water (correct temperature), soap, and towel dispenser.

Alternative to towels, are air dryers, providing there are maze doorways, or automatic doors.

Bob Flint

You will not see 10 kids out of 500 that will use this thing properly if at all . What a ridiculous video. Few kids will leave the faucet running and yet use a towel sitting next to running water. More likely they will throw the towel in the sink or on the floor. Also very, very few bathroom faucets are made with a gooseneck spout. Rather than paying for a special faucet and this contraption you can get a press handle, (handicap) faucet or a sensor type faucet and teach kids to properly wash their hands. Kids learn quickly.


I'm part of this project and we're actually working on reducing TipTapTop's size and adding a soap dispenser. This device is equipped with an On-Off switch that enables you to use it without the soundtrack. That way, this device can be used not only in schools or at home, but also in offices, gas stations or restaurants, offering an hand-free contact tap, a 'no-touch' sink. A standard screw nut and sometimes an adaptor are simply required to fix it on any tap and to start saving water and energy. Concerning the hydroelectric generator, please visit our website and contact us for more informations!



Our team is aware of TipTapTop's main problem: its size. We are working to reduce it but as some understood, it is very hard to find a small and powerful turbine. The one we found enable us to have a positive energy balance, no joke here. Here is ours : (produces 5W in reality : )

Adding a soap dispenser can seem to be a good idea but I personally think it's not : our goal is to teach children how to wash their hands, not to do the work for them.

The soundtrack is also important. As no members of out team can stand listening to the jiggle anymore, we tweaked the switch to enable or not the soundtrack. We also made different soundtracks for children, one per day of the year in the best case.

Finally, our goal is to have this device in nursery or school, not for a personal use. I repeat myself again : our goal is to teach hand washing for the everyday life while keeping in mind environmental issues.

Don't give someone a fish while you can teach him how to catch them by itself.

More info at


TipTapTop won the national stage and ranked first in France.

TipTapTop is now competing to be among the international runners.


Beside the the fun part of the project concerning kids, there is a real inovation within the device : the self-suficiency added to a regular sensor type faucet.

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