Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Drinking Fountain


ABC Industrial makes a touch-free hand dryer for use in public restrooms. Scientific research has proven that warm air hand dryers are more hygienic for drying hands than drying with a paper towel; however, a dryer with hands-free operation improves sanitation even more by eliminating contaminated buttons. Touchless hand dryers also have the added benefit of reducing maintenance and utility costs.

ABC Industrial is thinking of expanding its product offerings, hoping to bring the hygienic benefits of their touch-free hand dryer to the ordinary drinking fountain. As an electrical engineer at ABC, your job is to create a prototype of such a touch-free drinking fountain in order to show the viability of such a product.

Your marketing team has conducted focus groups with both business owners who might purchase a drinking fountain and customers who would use one. Results show that business owners are concerned about wasting water. They want the drinking fountain to activate only when someone actually wants a drink of water rather than when they are just passing by. Customers want a fountain that triggers reliably and quickly.

Your job is to create a prototype of a motion-activated drinking fountain using Vernier sensors, Logger Pro software or a standalone LabQuest 2, and a variety of output devices shown in the Materials list.

Learning Objectives

  • Supplement classroom instruction of motion and its effects with hands-on engineering application.
  • Control devices (pump) based on input from measured physical quantities (position and velocity).

Reference Experiments

Vernier Lab Book Experiment
Physics with Vernier 1 Graph Matching
Middle School Science with Vernier 33 Graphing Your Motion
Physical Science with Vernier 35 Graphing Your Motion

Sensors and Equipment

Output Devices

Construction Materials

  • duct tape
  • cardboard
  • felt sheets
  • colored markers

Download Extension

The download includes student instructions, DCU tips, teacher information, and examples in PDF and Microsoft® Word® formats.

Drinking Fountain

About Engineering Extension Activities

Engineering Extension Activities provide a way to add an engineering component to a Vernier science experiment. Use sensor data and Logger Pro software (or LabQuest 2) to help solve an engineering problem.

See All Engineering Extension Activities »

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