IIT Mandi teams develop UV-C Disinfection Box and Foot Operated Hand Sanitiser Dispenser to minimise the risk of COVID-19

Mandi: Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Mandi have developed an Ultraviolet-C (UV-C) light-based portable disinfection box at a cost of ₹35,000 to disinfect metallic, plastic and cardboard products like wallets, keys, spectacles, bags, courier packages and parcels, among others, to minimise the risk of COVID-19. Minimising the risk is the key because this virus can live on these surfaces for up to 3 days.

Research has shown that UV-C light can achieve a high level of inactivation of a near-relative of COVID-19’s virus. Thus, reducing the risks of contagion among healthy people. In the workplace, it can be an excellent tool for disinfecting transit of goods. The structure of the box is based on a UV-C opaque covered frame. It consists of a cuboid container made of a wooden board (furniture grade) with a two-layer aluminium foil coating to prevent UV-C light leakage. Ten UV-C lamps with designated ratings are used to provide UV-C light exposure to object surfaces. These lamps are connected with automatic timer control that regulates the dose of UV-C light as per requirement for the specific object.

Dr. Himanshu Pathak and Dr. Sunny Zafar, Assistant Professors, School of Engineering, IIT Mandi, identified the capability of UV-C light for the disinfecting objects against contamination of the novel COVID-19 virus. “The developed prototype is capable of disinfecting non-living objects like courier packets, travel bags, currency, wallets, wrist watches, mobile phones, laptops, books, stationery among others”, said Dr. Himanshu Pathak.

“We are using ozone-free UV-C lamps (with 254 nm wavelength), as per the ISO: 15858:2016 standard for UV-C devices -safety information with almost no exposure to human operators.”, elaborates Dr. Sunny Zafar.

Highlighting the benefits of the Disinfection Box in the COVID-19 perspective, the researchers said, “The developed prototype can disinfect all kinds of metal, plastic and cardboard-based products from the bacteria and SARS-CoV-2 virus within one-minute exposure of UV-C light, by eliminating up to 99%.”

The research team providing expertise in this innovation include:

Dr. Himanshu Pathak, Assistant Professor, School of Engineering, IIT Mandi

Dr. Sunny Zafar, Assistant Professor, School of Engineering, IIT Mandi

Dr. Hitesh Shrimali, Associate Professor, School of Computing & Electrical Engineering, IIT Mandi

Dr. Prosenjit Mondal, Associate Professor, School of Basic Sciences, IIT Mandi

Dr. Amit Prasad, Assistant Professor, School of Basic Sciences, IIT Mandi

The prototype has been tested in an in-house lab facility at IIT Mandi against the bacteria ‘Escherichia coli’ and ‘Staphylococcus aureus’. The prototype shows 99% efficacy to kill both bacteria within 40 seconds of UV-C light exposure. Furthermore, on testing the researchers found that UV-C lamps did not heat up the disinfected product.

Foot-operated Hand Sanitiser Dispenser

Mr. Navish Sharma, Technical Assistant, Civil, IIT Mandi, along with his team members, Mr. Tilak Raj and Mr. Hans Raj, have developed a low-cost foot-operated hand sanitiser dispenser for sanitising hands without touching contaminated surfaces of the sanitiser bottle. In this dispenser, a spring reinforced foot pedal is installed which is connected to a pipe with a holder in which the sanitiser bottle will be placed. On pressing the foot pedal the sanitiser holder will lift and the bottle head will be pressed by a glass cap.

This innovation costs less than ₹1,400 and is being installed in the various parts of the IIT Mandi campus.