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Inspired in part by the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) available during the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers at the India-based Log 9 Materials have developed a device called the CoronaOven, which is capable of sterilizing common at-work and household items by using UV light disinfection.
Perhaps one of the most notable details about the CoronaOven is how quickly it was developed. Working rapidly in April 2020 as the COVID pandemic started to peak in countries around the world, Log 9 researchers were able to design, prototype and begin manufacturing of the CoronaOven in around 16 days.
Compliant with national and international regulations, such as those from the FDA in the United States, the CoronaOven uses short-wave ultraviolet light (UVC light) to perform COVID-19 disinfection of objects placed within it.
In an interview with Forbes India, company founder Akshay Singhal said the CoronaOven concept is based on UV light disinfection guidelines laid out by the Nebraska Medical Center, a leader on the use of UVC light to disinfect for COVID-19. The guidelines lay out the specific intensity of light needed to perform COVID-19 disinfection, and the CoronaOven has been engineered to provide that intensity of light.
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Incidentally, the intensity of UVC light inside an active CoronaOven is also capable of neutralizing other pathogens, including some common bacteria and fungi. The device is about the size of a microwave oven, and the sanitization process takes 4 to 16 minutes.
While there are other UV light disinfection devices out there on the market, Log 9 officials have stressed that the CoronaOven has been designed to target COVID-19 specifically. Furthermore, its effectiveness in fighting this novel coronavirus has been confirmed and certified by laboratories in India’s Council of Scientific & Industrial Research network. According to the Forbes India report, these labs have been reaffirming the efficacy of the device.
Patents have been filed for the CoronaOven and it is already in use. The company, based in the city of Bangalore, has provided more than 300 devices to the local police department and deployed more than 1,000 units throughout the retail market.
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The development of the CoronaOven, specifically by Log 9 Materials, has also been noteworthy as the company primarily focuses on the use of nanotechnology for clean energy and fluid filtration systems. According to the company, its ability to rapidly design, develop and prototype allows it to respond quickly to a dire need – the ability to conveniently sanitize PPE in the midst of a global pandemic.
Sanitizing Luggage and Handrails with UVC Light
While Log 9 continues to bring the CoronaOven to market, the company has also moved on to other developments.
In a proof of concept initiative conducted in partnership with the Kempegowda International Airport in Bangalore, the company installed customized variations of the CoronaOven at specific tactical locations inside the airport. This implementation aims to support the wellbeing of travelers and airport employees through the technology's signature sterilization method. Luggage, conveyor belts, baggage trolleys, handrails and other items were all sterilization targets of the initiative.
To achieve this goal, CoronaOven technology was modified into numerous configurations and sizes. The CoronaOven Conveyor modification involved adjusting the technology to both complement the existing conveyor belts at the airport and be used as a separate baggage system. This modification uses a constant stream of UVC light to perform COVID-19 disinfection of luggage bags and conveyor belts that pass through it.
The CoronaOven Tunnel modification was tailored to sterilize a load of airport trolleys using UVC light. The modified system can disinfect 8 or 9 trolleys at a time, in around two minutes.
As with the original commercial version of the CoronaOven, the modified system can perform a 360-degree UV light disinfection of each trolley. The “tunnel” system incorporates multi-layer UV protection, and the company said it is creating UV sensors that are capable of tracking each trolley as it passes through the system.
The CoronaOven HandRail modification was built to sterilize escalator handrails while the escalator is in use. The intention is to ensure that someone cannot be infected when they touch the escalator handrail. Attaching at the top of the handrail, the novel design conforms to existing escalator systems without the need for structural modifications.
According to reports, the company is in discussions with several other airport authorities across India to deploy COVID-19 disinfection solutions, which would allow for fast, convenient and dependable sanitization of surfaces.
Sources and Further Reading
- Express Computer. Bangalore International Airport takes help of clean tech startup to ensure protection against Covid 19.