Disinfecting and washing hands has become a common routine. However few are aware of the vast amount of bacteria and viruses dwelling on the surfaces of our smartphones – devices we constantly touch and hold against our faces. This is why Terveystalo, a Nordic health company brings disinfecting terminals to public places where they can be accessed by anyone.
“We at Terveystalo see health in a wider context. Not only do we cure diseases but concentrate on preventing them. In the midst of a global pandemic, having a strong immune system and practicing proper hand hygiene is highly important. This project is also a reminder for people to take care of all aspects of their health and billboards are a great way to spread this important message,” says Veera Siivonen, Marketing and Communications Director from Terveystalo.
There are disinfection solutions for smartphones available to consumers but they can take up to 15 minutes of UVC exposure. The new solution introduced by Terveystalo, however, does the job in 15 seconds thanks to hospital-grade technology.
According to Terveystalo’s research, 10-second exposure to UVC light disinfects smartphone surfaces nearly perfectly. The effectiveness of UVC light in disinfecting surfaces has also been proven by previous researches. The solution has been developed together with Sterlights, a Finland based company that imports and distributes hospital-grade UVC lights.
“The cheap consumer products usually have low-output lamps that require longer exposure time,” says Dr. Udy Ben Yosef, Chief Scientific Officer from Sterlights Oy. “The lamps that are used in the disinfecting stations make use of UVC light with a 254nm wavelength that destroys all pathogens such as viruses and bacteria. These high-output UVC lamps take only 15 seconds to properly disinfect smartphone surfaces.”
The billboards are located in Helsinki and Turku in southern Finland. There is a small hatch in the billboard where anyone can place their smartphone for cleaning. Exposure to UVC light can cause skin irritation and in extreme cases loss of sight. Safety of the user is secured by the fact that the UVC light in the billboards turns on only when the hatch is closed. It is physically impossible for anyone to harm themselves.
Turning billboards into disinfectant terminals is only the first phase of the project. The solution is currently developed further to work as a stand-alone disinfectant unit for example in public places.