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After imagining he was inside a woman's restroom—something we've all done at one time or...sorry, where were we?—Simon Sassoon devised a gadget that automatically kills germs on public doorknobs. Want to see what two years and $250,000 worth of investment money gets you? That's it on the right.

Every fifteen minutes, this $60 device sprays a mist of "hospital-grade disinfectant" onto the knob, killing whatever post-urination/defecation residue got transferred to the knob after being handled by hundreds of people.

Those in the hygiene brigade can reel off dozens of reasons all strangers are potential enemies: virulent flu seasons, packed airplanes with stale air, buses where no one covers a mouth when sneezing. But social critics detect an element of hysteria in the germaphobia of Americans and suggest that at its root is a fear of a dangerous, out-of-control world.

Is there a market for the sanitation device? All signs point to yes. Be prepared to see this in your local movie theater, restaurant, and underground sex club soon.

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Germs Never Sleep [NYT via Medgadget]