Because the wand can sanitize both hard and soft surfaces, it could be a game changer for hospitals and healthcare facilities. While it’s safe to clean most solid surfaces (including your iPhone) with disinfectant wipes, sanitizing fabric and other soft materials isn’t as straightforward. In hospitals, those usually get locked in specialized cabinets that pump in poisonous gases, like hydrogen peroxide. Instead, this handheld device could, for instance, shine over floors and chair cushions, quickly disinfecting both.
The project has already received a rapid response grant from the National Science Foundation. The professors — John Foster, Mirko Gamba and Mark Kushner — hope to use that funding to test and build a portable prototype. They believe that by adding chemicals to the gas used, they might be able to target particular viruses or bacteria.
Unfortunately, the product probably won’t be ready for at least a year. The goal is to deploy it toward the end of the current coronavirus pandemic or to have it ready for future epidemics. When it’s ready, it might also find a use outside of hospitals, like in air planes or buses.
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