Covid-19 continues to drive UV-C LED designs

Covid-19 continues to drive UV-C LED designs

Feature articles |
By Nick Flaherty

The Covid-19 continues to drive the development of disinfections systems using UV-C LED technology from desktop and martphn systems to autonomous robots.

After a range of systems launched in early in the pandemic (see below) the CES consumer lectronics show is seeing more UV-C designs coming to market.

Targus in the US is set to launch a UV-C disinfection system for desktops. The UV-C LED Disinfection Light has been certified to the UL 962 Standard for Safety for Household and Commercial Furnishings, which Targus says makes it the only surface disinfection solution in the world to meet UL’s safety requirements for household and commercial use. Safety is a key issue as UV-C LEDs strong enough to be used for disinfection can damage skin.

The AC-powered UV-C LED light turns on and runs for 5 minutes, every hour, to break down microorganisms, including the Covid-19 virus. When the disinfection cycle begins, it emits a purple ambient light, indicating the Disinfection Light is in use. There is a built-in auto shut-off safety feature that uses motion sensors. Should any motion be detected within the safety zone, outside of the active cleaning area, or if the device senses any activity within the safety zone, the UV-C LEDs will be automatically disabled. After 5 minutes of inactivity, the Light will resume its disinfection cycle.

“Achieving UL 962 certification is a significant accomplishment that demonstrates a commitment to a high level of safety,” said Ibrahim Jilani, global director of UL’s Consumer, Medical and Information Technologies group. “This is the first surface disinfection solution to have achieved this type of safety certification in the commercial space.”

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UVCeed has also used the show to launch a mobile UV-C  sanitizer. UVCeed attaches to any smartphone and combines a 275nm UV-C LED with the camera and time of flight sensor in a smartphone through a machine learning app to give users visibility of what area is being disinfected

“You can’t predict when you’re going to need to disinfect,” said Dr. Peter Bonutti, co-founder and CEO of UVCeed and medical incubator Bonutti Research. “UVCeed is a mobile portable system that can be ubiquitous and used everywhere to disinfect or sterilize. It is a non-chemical treatment for surfaces, food, air, or PPE that allows users and their families to feel secure in an environment that is full of pathogens. This is the future of combating germs, bacteria and viruses and especially at large venues such as CES.”

iCide Smart Dosage delivers the precise amount of energy, taking into consideration field and distance to calculate the correct dose. UVCeed does not under-treat, which can lead to a false sense of security and increased risk of infection, or over-treat, which causes damage to polymers, tissue, pain, discoloration, and can weaken certain materials. The app uses a machine learning-based algorithm to reduce accidental exposure and misuse, using the phone’s camera and time-of-flight sensor to pauses the scan when motion or life is detected.

A quick reduction of 90 percent can be achieved in just a few seconds while 99.9 percent reduction can be on the order of 30-60 seconds depending on the distance and size of the object.

Additionally, UVCeed’s built-in object recognition knows if a surface was already recently sanitized.

UVCeed works with all iOS and android phones (with BLE Connection) using an adhesive plate or magnetic attachment (included) and has its own rechargeable battery with a USB-C charging interface. It also works with the latest MagSafe connector from Apple for attachment to the iPhone 12 and beyond.

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Next: Adding UV-C LEDs to robotic systems

lumixUV has developed a robotic disinfection technology for retail point-of-sale units. UV-C LED lights to pass over the POS terminal system and disinfect at a level comparable to Lysol or alcohol, without the risk of damaging the terminal that comes along with applying liquid disinfectants. Additionally, lumixUV has developed complementary individual credit card disinfection devices designed to sanitize the customer’s card in applications where the customer must physically hand their credit card to an associate for processing.

“Eighty percent of illness-causing germs are spread by our hands and POS terminals are touched by hundreds of people — if not more — on a daily basis. UV-C disinfection is effective in maintaining cleaner, safer, high-touch surfaces. Human behaviour is difficult to change – it took over 100 years for hand-washing to become commonplace after it was discovered to be effective in reducing the transmission of illness. Implementing effective and automated disinfection systems in high-risk areas – and doesn’t rely on humans, is critical in preventing the spread of disease,” said Mark Lyle, co-founder of lumixUV.

LumixUV is also adapting its technology to work with self-serve kiosks at airports, offices, and additional high-touch surface applications which can also be disinfected with UV-C light.

TCL, perhaps better known for developing TV and smartphones for many brands has also added UV-C to its Sweeva voice controlled robot vacuum cleaner. Laser-guided systems allow Sweeva to intelligently navigate the home, cleaning row-by-row and mapping in real-time, which can be viewed or edited directly through the TCL Home App. TCL also added UV-C technology to allow the cleanest floors possible, with models featuring simultaneous mopping and vacuuming capabilities coming soon.

UBtech Robotics also launched an autonomous mobile UV-C Disinfection robotic system at the show. ADIBOT-A combines 360 degree UV-C LD disinfecting technology with robotics hardware and AI software, following a stationary version launched last year.

ADIBOT-A can be programmed and mapped with UBtech’s proprietary U-SLAM software to independently navigate one or multiple floor plans to disinfect against harmful pathogens, bacteria and viruses, including Covid-19. The software uses AI algorithms to generate optimal disinfection paths and navigate obstacles from the very first disinfection session creating automatic autonomous routes with key disinfection points.

Safety features include the use of AI enabled risk mitigation cameras, two LiDAR systems, multiple PIR sensors and sensor enabled safety signage.

“The unprecedented success we’ve experienced with our ADIBOT systems over the last year shows the need for innovative and affordable solutions to protect against harmful viruses,” said John Rhee, SVP and General Manager of UBtech, North America. “In 2022 and beyond, UBtech looks forward to building on this success and expanding our solutions for schools, businesses and our overwrought healthcare system.”

The ADIBOT disinfection systems are currently deployed in over 500 buildings, protecting employees, students and staff in school districts, office parks, and convention centres across the US.

The Targus UV-C LED Disinfection Light (AWV339TT) will retail for $299.99 and be available for sale starting in February 2022. The UVceed is avaiable for $199 and the ADIBOT-A from $15 a dat.;;;

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