"Users don't like to touch anything in restrooms any longer," says Doug Calvert, president of Cannon Hygiene US, a restroom-hygiene services company based in Atlanta, GA. "The last thing they want to do after washing their hands is touch a knob [that everyone else has touched] just to turn on the hand dryer."
Although there were earlier versions, for the most part, touchless or automatic hand-drying systems became readily noticeable just a few years ago.
"Because it's generally agreed that the restroom of the future will be even more touchless, it's assumed that almost all electric hand dryers will be touchless relatively soon," says Calvert
"With the new systems, placing hands directly under the dryer turns on the fan and heating element.
Removing hands turns the machine off, which also helps reduce power usage considerably."
According to Calvert
, probably the biggest of the new developments in hand-dryer technology is an innovation introduced in Europe about two years ago and which is now available in the United States as well.
The machines sporting this technology look very little like traditional hand dryers.
"Probably the big feature with these machines is that they are fast," says Calvert
"It is in a much larger setting, such as a university, airport, convention facility, even a busy restaurant, where these machines really show their cost savings," explains Calvert