Innovation That Matters

Handrail sterilizer

New sanitizer promises germ-free escalator handrails

Sport & Fitness

A wireless ultraviolet LED can sterilize escalator handrails using power from the movement of the handrail.

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According to microbiologists, escalator handrails are one of the germiest places at the mall. Testing by microbiologists has found food, E. coli, urine, mucus, feces, and blood on escalator handrails. And where there are germs, there are increased chances for passing on colds, flu and other ailments, especially to the immune compromised. But if this is enough to make you want to avoid shopping altogether, there is now hope. LG Innotek has just announced the development of the world’s first handrail sterilizer, capable of continuously disinfecting escalator handrails.

Ultraviolet light has already proven to be an effective sterilizer in hospitals, and in sanitizing drinking water. Similarly, LG’s escalator sanitizer uses LG’s ultraviolet LED technology to completely destroy the DNA of germs. The device emits UV light in the 278 nanometer wavelength, which is harmless to the human body, but deadly to germs. LG claims that its sterilizer wipes out 99.99 percent of germs on the surface of the handrail. The sterilizer is installed on the front part of the handrail and shoots UV rays onto the rail as it passes through the sterilizer. The device can be easily retrofitted to any handrail, and operates both wirelessly and free from an external power source, relying on electricity generated from the movement of the handrail.

Although LG has not yet released the product for commercial purchase, it has already been certified for use in the European Union and South Korea, meaning that the sanitizer may soon be coming to an airport, mall, or subway station near you. What other application of UV light could be explored to improve the quality of life of the general public?



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