New Delhi, Apr 17 (PTI) Researchers have developed a portable racket with ultraviolet (UV) light which they say can disinfect almost every surface -- from groceries, e-commerce packets, keys, currency notes to vehicles -- simply by waving the device over them, and may help in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 80-centimetre-long racket comprises of an oval head which has tubes of UVC -- ultraviolet light with wavelengths between 200-280 nanometres -- embedded on the one side, the researchers said.
The other side of the device is covered with a metallic sheet to shield the person holding it from bodily contact with harmful UVC rays, they said.
'The current pandemic has shown that we need to be more vigilant about our safety and should ideally disinfect anything that we carry from outside into our homes,' Mandeep Singh, an assistant professor at Lovely Professional University (LPU) in Punjab, told PTI.
'Our UV racket is a perfect solution to achieve this. Whether it is keys, bags, food delivery or e-commerce packets; one needs to wave the racket over them just for a few minutes to disinfect them,” Singh said.
The researchers explained that all one needs to do is to wave the racket over the surfaces while holding it at a distance of 4-5 inches from the object for 60 seconds to disinfect it.
The racket is also equipped with an object movement identification feature, which means the device shuts the sanitising process if it observes any human intervention, to avoid any harm to the human skin, they said.
The racket has been fitted with a timer which beeps after 60 seconds when sanitisation is complete, said Anant Kumar Rajput, a B. Tech student at LPU, who developed the racket under the guidance of Singh and project officer Ruhul Amin Choudhury.
Once the disinfected item is sanitised with the UV rays, users can touch or hold the product immediately, said Rajput.
The racket can run either on electricity or using an inbuilt battery which can be recharged in half an hour, and can provide power for 15 minutes.
The team has filed a patent for the racket and is looking for industrial partners for its commercialisation, adding the racket would then be available for Rs. 1,000.
'We are confident once the racket hits the market, consumers will find it very useful,' Singh added.
Research has shown that UV light can penetrate the cells of pathogens, and damage the DNA or RNA that contain their genetic code.
UV can also damage the amino acids and proteins that either protect the virus or allow it to attach to and infect a host cell, studies have found.
According to the World Health Organization, UVC is the highest-energy category of ultraviolet light, and is also the most damaging.
The UV light used in medical disinfection devices is a particular wavelength of UVC, WHO said. PTI SAR SAR SAR