From streetlights with built-in Wi-Fi to overhead lights that neutralize germs, this invention is already on the market.
Futuristic Lighting System Offers COVID Disinfection Capabilities
A lighting company is taking its technology in an unexpected new direction amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Car manufacturer Groupe Renault recently hosted a global hackathon to scout out disinfection solutions for automobiles, and the Israel regional winner was the lighting company Juganu. Juganu (Hindi for “firefly”) is now in discussions with Groupe Renault about how its J.Protect LED lighting fixtures could inactivate pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2, in car cabins.
Founded in 2011, the company gained attention when it introduced a novel streetlight system that doubles as a public Wi-Fi network.
“We created a totally new LED light and a platform on which data of all types can be transferred between the lights,” Juganu Chief Marketing Officer Eyal Lewin said. “Most neighborhoods have streetlights every 20 or 30 meters (21-32 yards), giving us the opportunity to create a wireless platform on top of those light poles, not as an antenna but actually in the lights.”
Juganu has since installed its connected streetlights in about 20 cities in Israel, Europe and the Americas — but where does disinfection come into the picture?
Germ-inactivating UV light
Juganu’s indoor LED platform easily combines with indoor planar (overhead) lighting systems for retail and office spaces, according to Lewin. The fixtures blend wavelengths to mimic the gradations of sunlight from dawn to dusk and are controlled by a mobile app.
“We blended not only the seen light but also invisible light, such as UV,” Lewin said.
Ultraviolet rays — UVA, UVB and UVC — neutralize bacteria and viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, a recent Tel Aviv University study showed. Tests conducted in commercial labs and at Bar-Ilan and Technion universities in Israel showed that Juganu fixtures can effectively neutralize 90-99.9% of pathogens in a room.
The lighting system continuously actives UVA rays, the safest type of UV ray. UVC rays, which are more effective against pathogens but hazardous to people, are manually activated by application at times when the space is vacant.
“There are safety measures connected to movement detectors, and you set the time that the accelerated mode is active. It can be only a few minutes, and after that, it stops,” said Lewin.
Juganu began developing such fixtures in March of last year, as the coronavirus pandemic spread worldwide, and launched them in October. They can be used in hospitals, hotels, malls, spas, restaurants, schools and airports to suppress both aerosol and surface-attached pathogens.
Healthier lighting options
“We’re working with a big hospital in Germany,” Lewin said, noting that standard artificial overhead lighting can be harmful to patients and staff by disrupting their circadian rhythms. “They like that J.Protect inactivates bacteria and viruses — even antibiotic resistant bacteria — and they like the capability to control the level of light throughout the day.”
Glo Aesthetics & Skin Care in Lake Mary, Florida, has also implemented J.Protect LED lighting technology.
“As with most businesses around the country, we’ve felt an immense impact from COVID-19 — especially as a personal service provider,” owner Emily Saker said. “We were thrilled with J.Protect’s ability to continually disinfect our space while providing healthier light. We’re excited to give staff and guests a level of comfort in knowing they’re protected when they walk through our doors.”
In the car and on the farm
Automotive companies have also begun approaching Juganu for mobile lighting options.
“This is a new initiative within our company, but it’s still a connected wireless light. And it really fits the car cabin because it’s very thin, just five millimeters,” Lewin said. “You can put it anywhere in the car and make warm or bright light and at the same time offer continuous protection against pathogens.”
This is of particular interest for those concerned about car-pooling and ride-sharing.
“You can clean the air and surfaces with different methods, but our method is embedded and has accelerated capabilities,” Lewin said.
Juganu lighting is also being used for the indoor cultivation of plants, ranging from leafy greens at New Jersey-based AeroFarms to medical cannabis at Intelicanna in Israel to the Israeli government’s Volcani Center-Agricultural Research Organization.
“Our society will continue to be vulnerable to pandemics,” said Eran Ben-Shmuel, Juganu co-founder. “While COVID-19 is certainly an inflection point and global focus right now, we believe our J.Protect technology will be relevant long after this pandemic ends.”
Futuristic Lighting System Offers COVID Disinfection Capabilities appeared first on ISRAEL21c.
(Edited by Carlin Becker and David Martosko)