Post-COVID Large Scale Cleaning/Disinfecting Ideas
- Cold air plasma systems that operate similar to an air purification device are beginning to be used by airlines to disinfect plane interiors on a 30-day basis. These devices have been proven to kill 100% of all viruses and bacteria uses a non-toxic air system within a 90-minute period.
- Self-cleaning surfaces, which include protective skins and even negatively charged metals, are being tested by researchers at Birmingham University to ensure high-touch items such as doorknobs and handrails remain sanitized at all times.
- Disinfection chambers that utilize a combination of disinfectant spray and UV lights are beginning to be installed at the entrances to offices and marketplaces to disinfect entire persons within a 2-minute time frame.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, many new innovations and products are coming to market for use with mass cleaning and disinfecting of public spaces, such as offices and commercial areas. A majority of these new gadgets are being used for disinfection and sanitization of high-touch surfaces, but a few are also working to mitigate the need for laborious cleaning tactics. Below are six instruments that are either currently being tested for use or already in use for cleaning and disinfecting on a large scale. Each innovation is followed by a brief description of what it is, who created the product, how it is designed for mass disinfection/sanitization, and at least one example of a company that is using the gadget.
Hand-Washing Devices & "Fact Checkers"
- Various types of products that ensure people are washing their hands effectively are currently in production, especially for public spaces. Some of these devices help guide consumers through the hand-washing process to ensure they are actually eliminating bacteria and viruses, while others can scan hands post-washing to ensure they are clean.
- Miaza Mirror is a smart mirror designed for use in office spaces and building entrances. Although the mirror can be adjusted for use with multiple purposes — such as advertising or entertainment — the mirror's designer, Kanav Koahl from Ariona State University — envisions the mirror for primary use in healthcare facilities and public restrooms. In one study, the mirror was setup above sinks to display the WHO handwashing protocols and video instruction. When compared to a control group that only received an instructional hand-washing video, 98% of Miaza Mirror uses had followed the instructions and washed their hands effectively, compared to only 43% of the control group.
- PathSpot is a wall-mounted scanner that can detect contaminants on the hand, keep track of user data, and offer suggestions on better hygiene practices. The device itself utilizes light fluorescence spectroscopy and LED lights to scan hands from the wrist to fingertips (including under and around nails) to detect the presence of harmful contaminants that could have been removed by effective handwashing. The device also includes a touchless tracking and employee ID system to encourage cleanliness compliance and improvement.
- The PathSpot hand scanners are currently being used by restaurants to ensure employees are adhering to handwashing policies, especially those that work in the kitchen. Dave's Hot Chicken in San Diego and some Starbucks locations are currently testing out the technology, which costs $175/month.
Cold Air Plasma Systems
- Cold air plasma systems offer a way to circulate air through an enclosed space to inactivate viruses on surfaces for disinfection. The most common cold air plasma systems will utilize oxygen (O2) and/or nitrogen (N2) species due to the molecules' antimicrobial properties. Cold plasma is also non-toxic since it does not involve the use of chemicals for decontamination.
- These compounds are brought to a cold plasma temperature using a special machine or device that plugs into the wall. From there, the plasma molecules recombine with the moisture in the air and become reactive, which allows them to mutilate and destroy viruses, bacteria, and fungi present in the room.
- APJeT, Inc. recently created a new product called COVIDINTOR, which uses cold plasma from oxygen (O2) and nitrogen (N2) to kill off viruses, including COVID-19. The COVIDINATOR is available in four different systems, including an HVAC add-on, a stand-alone air disinfection system, a hand-held wand for surface decontamination, and a "kill-box" for item disinfection
- Corporate Jet Support out of New Jersey has recently purchased the COVIDINATOR plasma disinfection technology from APJeT, Inc. for use on their Gulfstream and corporate jets. The COVIDINATOR disinfection system from APJeT has been tested and certified to kill 100% of viruses within a 90-minute time frame using a one pass room-circulation air system.
- The installation and use of self-cleaning surfaces, particularly for high-contact surfaces such as door handles and handrails, are being tested in public spaces for use with preventing the spread of illness and disease, including COVID-19.
- Researchers at Birmingham University have created a steel surface that has molecular antimicrobial spikes that damage and kill bacteria by rupturing their outer membranes, rendering them harmless. Negatively charged viruses and bacteria are attracted to the positively charged antimicrobial spikes, which then kill them.
- NanoSeptic is currently using Birmingham University's antimicrobial material to produce "skins" that can be placed over high-tough surfaces to ensure constant cleanliness and minimal spread of harmful bacteria and viruses. Clean Handle is a Swiss start-up that has created a steel door handle that immediately disinfects 99.9% of viruses and bacteria by maintaining a disinfectant film on the handle surface at all times.
Anti-Viral Surface Coatings
- Anti-viral or virus-resistant surface coatings are transparent films that are sprayed on non-porous surface and can temporarily repel bacteria and viruses. Some of these coatings are made of titanium dioxide, while others are made with positively charged silver nanoparticles, both of which can decompose bacteria and viruses that come into contact with the surface. These coatings can last up to a year, and are capable of destroying 99.9% of pathogens.
- ACT.Global, a Danish company, is currently selling a coating that is sprayed on hard surfaces and lasts for up to a year. The spray is made with titanium dioxide and interacts with moisture in the air to decompose bacteria and viruses. It requires 8 hours of exposure to light to activate, but then works in full force.
- Dozens of hotels in Denmark, Germany, India, and Thailand have entered into three-year contracts with ACT.Global to use their CleanCoat product. The effectiveness of the coating is maintained post-application with typical household cleaners and electrochemically activated water.
- Xermosol is a small device created by a young innovator from Jamaica's University of Technology that works to automatically disinfect door knobs, handles, and other high-contact surfaces after each use. The Xermosol device uses ultraviolet lights to kill bacteria and viruses, while remaining harmless and non-toxic to humans.
- After being tested in a lab, the Xermosol device was found to kill more than 99.9% of deadly pathogens with each pass of UV light, including MRSA, E-coli, and H1N1.
- Although Xermosol is not yet in use by any business or public facility, the device is currently in prototype production and was selected as a finalist at the Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting in Geneva. The Global Innovation Fund is also interested in partnering with the creator of Xermosol to provide funding and means to production.
- Disinfection chambers for use in public spaces are currently in production and testing phases. Current designs include autonomous disinfection tunnels with 2 chambers for virus neutralization, which would allow persons to walk through and be sanitized prior to entering a public, enclosed space.
- The first chamber is set to spray a disinfectant liquid or mist on the person and their articles. The second chamber simultaneously exposes the person to 70 degrees Celsius temperatures and UV light rays. The chambers would automatically perform these functions using ultrasonic sensors that detect the person's presence.
- These chambers are being recommended for use by scientists in airports, office complexes, schools, and malls.
- The Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur (IIT Kanpur) has already begun manufacturing and installing disinfection chambers in offices and marketplaces throughout the city. Each of these chambers cost around Rs 50,000 and take less than two minutes to disinfect each person that passes through.
For this research on new mass cleaning and disinfection innovations, we leveraged the most reputable sources of information that were available in the public domain, including Science Direct, Business Wire, and the U.S. National Library of Medicine. From these and other similar sources, we were able to identify six gadgets and cleaning strategies that are being tested for use with large-scale cleaning in public spaces post-COVID.
Due the fact that many of these gadgets are still in the testing phase, we were unable to locate examples of existing businesses that are currently using each innovation identified. In the instances where the strategies were still in testing phases, we compensated with the name of a company that is currently producing the product for future sale.