Georgia Tech researchers build simple box to disinfect surfaces from COVID-19

Research team creates disinfectant light box

ATLANTA — Imagine being part of a highly creative research team at Georgia Tech and you decided to try creating a super-simple box to help disinfect areas potentially contaminated by coronavirus.

Instead of spending a ton of money to look into potential options to make your box work, you decided to go check out the local hardware store to see if you could find the parts there.

Dr. Robert Harris and his Georgia Tech Research Institute team explained to Channel 2′s Wendy Corona they built a simple disinfectant box in part to work out pandemic related anxiety.

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“We did something really simple. We put a light in a box. We actually didn’t make it very high tech. We used components you could buy at Home Depot,” said Harris.

“It’s not necessarily a new idea, though we tried to do everything we could to improve the effectiveness of it,” he added.

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According to the research team, the box was built for under $100 and uses UVC light to disinfect surfaces. It was built to disinfect things like plastic face shields and other hard surfaces. The team built the box with a safety switch because the light could potentially cause damage to the skin and eyes.

“The same reason that it causes cataracts and skin cancer are the same reason that it destroys the virus by destroying the RNA of the virus so that it can’t replicate,” said Harris.

The team hopes it will take eight minutes or less for the box to do its job. They say the box is something ideally anyone can use or possibly make and it’s small enough to put in the trunk of a car or store in an ambulance.

“We wanted medical professionals to be able to disinfect them between patients and between users so nothing is being transferred,” Harris added.

The researchers just wanted to find a simple solution for a complex problem.

“The goal is to make the country healthier and safer for everyone. This is particularly good in cases where nothing is being used, so it’s much better than nothing at all,” Harris said.

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