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This new system can kill the coronavirus that’s all around you

Published Nov 11th, 2020 8:56AM EST
Coronavirus Surfaces
Image: Chansom Pantip/Adobe

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  • The novel coronavirus can survive on surfaces for several days, depending on various factors that favor fomite transmission.
  • Israeli startup Juganu developed a smart lighting solution called J.Protect that uses ultraviolet light to neutralize bacteria and viruses on surfaces, including SARS-CoV-2.
  • The lighting system doesn’t need special wiring, and it’s safe for people so it can be used in public places.

The novel coronavirus can survive on surfaces for several days, making fomite transmission a very real possibility. That’s why governments advise people to wash their hands frequently or use hand sanitizer after touching common surfaces and objects in public. And that’s why touching your eyes, mouth, and nose isn’t recommended with potentially contaminated hands. Factors including ambient light and temperature affect the lifespan of the virus on surfaces. The pathogen can survive for weeks in low temperatures in darkness, but it has a much shorter lifespan when exposed to the sun or ultra-violet light sources. UV light can be harmful to people, but UV lighting solutions can be used to disinfect public spaces when people are not present.

Now, a company that manufactures smart lightning solutions has come up with smart lights that incorporate UV components that can neutralize various bacteria and viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, without harming people.

Juganu’s J.Protect is a new lighting solution that can disinfect surfaces and can be used inside public spaces like hospitals, schools, office spaces, and gyms. Per Calcalist, the company is EPA-registered in 47 US states.

Coronavirus on Surfaces
J.Protect smart light system in use with people present Image source: J.Protect

The new lighting solution can be installed without rewiring or structural changes, and it comes with an app that can control the lights. J.Protect features two light modes, including Allegro and Presto. Allegro provides continuous disinfection while Presto offers a continuous mode and an accelerated mode of disinfection. These combine high-quality surface light with two types of ultraviolet light, including UV-A and UV-C. The result is the appearance of natural light in indoor spaces.

The implication in Juganu’s materials seems to be that the J.Protect lights can be used in indoor spaces while people are present, suggesting the lighting system is safe:

Providing light and protection for public spaces, this unique luminaire mixes visible and non-visible light to function both as a general lighting fixture with the ability to continuously protect and disinfect against disease-carrying pathogens.

It might not be clear from the wording above, but the CEO and co-founder of Juganu Eran Ben-Shmuel confirmed that the lighting system is indeed safe for people and can be used indoors when people are present. A video that plays in a loop on the J.Protect product page explains that the lights provide protection continuously during regular hours in Allegro mode (image above). Infrared light can scan the room to detect the presence of people, and then the accelerated Presto disinfection starts when a room is clear (image below).

Coronavirus on Surfaces
J.Protect smart light system disinfects a room with no people in it. Image source: Juganu

“Smart lighting will be one of the biggest areas of opportunity for physical spaces. We are evolving from lights simply illuminating spaces to disinfecting and securing them, as well as promoting well-being by recreating natural light shifts based on sunrise and sunset,” Ben-Shmuel said in a statement. “With J.Protect, we hope to be the light at the end of the tunnel of the COVID-19 era.”

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.