Three team for European smart LED Covid-19 sanitiser without UVC

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Perhaps better know for its connectors, Molex has teamed up with Italian company and Uk software developer to launch a smart connected LED disinfecting system.

The ‘Microbial Sanitising Lighting’ system combines LED technology from Nextsense in Rome and the Molex power-over-ethernet (PoE) building platform with smart software from amBX, a spin off from Philips R&D in County Durham.

The Nextsense Biovitae system is an antimicrobial LED lighting technology (UV free) that sanitizes surfaces. However this is not UVC light at 240 and 260 nm, but longer wavelength visible light from 400nm to 420nm that Nextsense says tuned to the specific responses of bacteria and unlike UVC can be used all the time.

The key question is the efficacy of the technique for viruses which have a different structure to bacteria, but Nextsense says tests carried out by the Scientific Department of the Celio Military Polyclinic in Rome and the military laboratories of Germany and Sweden showed that the peaks of the Biovitae LEDs at 405nm and up to 420nm killed 99.8% of the SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) virus.

“Unlike UV light, Biovitae is a continuous sanitisation LED system that operates safely in the presence of people, so there is no need to wait until the area is unoccupied before starting sanitation. Biovitae breaks down the structure of the exposed microorganisms meaning they cannot survive,” said Giovanni Frezza, Director of Digital Enterprise and IoT Solutions at Molex.

There have been warnings in the UK about the use of UV-C in consumer applications but there has also been research in Germany into skin-friendly UVC LEDs.

Nextsense makes a range of LED bulbs and lighting systems that plug into existing fittings. The partnership with Molex allows the data aggregation, advanced connectivity, energy management, and control of the lighting. The SmartCore software has been used for lighting and colour control of LED systems in the audio-visual, hospitality, outdoor advertising and commercial property sectors

“Demand for disinfecting technology has dramatically increased since the outbreak of COVID-19. Ultraviolet-C (UVC) lighting has been around for many years; and has been associated with the wavelengths of 240 and 260 nm. Many companies are selling this solution as an effective and efficient way to sanitise environments such as schools, hospitals and offices. However, the major drawback of this solution is that prolonged exposure to UV light can cause skin cancers. Therefore, the solution can only be activated when there is no one present,” said David Eve, CEO of amBX. 

“We only do software, no hardware, and all of our software is our own and developed in-house in the UK. This approach has many advantages ranging from high quality to true open interoperability and a responsive and flexible platform. We believe that the control of every lighting experience should be high-quality and must be combined with dynamic performance in any 3-dimensional space to meet today’s and tomorrow’s lighting control requirements. When that capability is accessible to other building automation and management systems and can work with the widest possible range of lighting and sensor devices, then it can be considered truly “smart”,” he said.;;

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