Brightgreen, a light company in Melbourne, claim ultraviolet lights they have engineered can combat the transmission of COVID-19. Can these lights really fry the virus? Or will they fry us instead?
April 1st, 2020
The idea that we can fight the spread of Corona simply by flipping a light switch seems too good to be true but according to a Melbourne lighting company, Brightgreen, these lights are ready for production.
“Many buildings will need to stay occupied during this pandemic,” said the company’s CEO, David O’Driscoll. “Automated UV-C lighting is the safest and most compliant option to eliminate viruses in these spaces.”
These UV-C lights have been known to kill viruses and using light to disinfect buildings, vehicles and water is no new thing, in fact, UV-C lights are currently being used in China on public transport to combat COVID-19. While there’s no research yet supporting that these lights are effective against COVID-19 UV-C has been against other strains of COVID and the SARs virus in the past. There’s one other big problem though, while these lights can cook viruses, they tend to do the same thing to humans.
Exposure to UV-C lights can cause skin irritation and burning in seconds time, it can damage eyes and burn if the exposure is long or intense enough, basically the light kills microorganisms and it doesn’t really care if that means COVID-19 or everything that makes up a person.
Brightgreen believes they’ve mitigated this risk however, by linking the lights to their wellness system, which uses presence monitors to determine if anyone is in the room. “You could be running laps or passed out cold, the system will recognize your presence and stop the UV-C lights from turning on,” said Moffat.
The system is set up to be fully automated to run overnight. The lights themselves are dual spectrum, so they can switch between regular visual lighting and UV-C. Brightgreen said they designed the lights to be easy to install for a fast, scalable solution.
“We made the designs for this system open source,” O’Driscoll said, “so other manufacturers can tool up to increase the speed to market with this high-impact system.”
While trusting your safety to Brightgreen’s automated system might seem risky to some, for others, particularly workplaces that need to stay open during this time like supermarkets and hospitals, it might be a worthy tool in combating the spread of the virus.
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