Keeping Clean in Virtual Reality
Cleanbox Technologies Puts Hygiene First
With everyone focused more than ever on hygiene, virtual reality is under a bit of scrutiny. It’s always been a source of unease with some operators interested in breaking into the VR sector, but it’s an especially crucial topic now.
That’s where Cleanbox Technologies comes in. The short of it – their product decontaminates headsets and other mass use hardware, killing 99.99-plus percent of bacteria, viruses and fungi in 60 seconds, they say.
Cleanbox CEO Amy Hedrick said the company has been inundated with phone calls and other inquiries in recent weeks. It seems a lot of people are recognizing they’re going to have to step up their hygiene game in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Hedrick calls Cleanbox a “smart tech hygiene company” that focuses on the health care, education, entertainment and enterprise VR markets. Basically, the Cleanbox product disinfects “anything that’s worn on your face or head.” For location-based entertainment facilities and VR arcades, that means headsets of all varieties.
Here’s exactly how it works: You put the headset in the Cleanbox, and it goes through a 60-second cycle of ultraviolet C (UVC) grade directional lighting, which takes care of 99.99 percent of the nasty stuff – bacteria, viruses and fungi – that are unreachable by disinfectant wipes. A “super-hydrophobic nano coating” helps prevent moisture from permeating headsets and the buildup of oils and grime. The Cleanbox also has an internal air system that dries anything remaining in the headset.
Simply, Hedrick says UVC lighting does all the hard work. It’s medical grade UV light that doesn’t exist naturally in the atmosphere, which allows it to deconstruct the DNA or RNA strands of the bacteria, viruses and fungi. She also boasts the product as environmentally friendly and user friendly.
“UVC light is a trusted technology,” Hedrick added. It’s been independently tested, and is proven to kill MRSA, H1N1 and SARS. “It is effective against viruses, and coronaviruses.” While it has not yet tested specifically against COVID-19, there is nothing indicating it would survive, based on UVC light’s known effectiveness against very similar strains.
Hedrick said several health care systems in the U.S. and in Europe have been using Cleanbox to properly sanitize equipment like face shields and masks during the coronavirus pandemic. “We’ve created a product we’re working to fast track to market that cleans multiple masks at once,” she noted.
Cleanbox Technologies started a little over four years ago filing patents for its cleaning technology. Looking at the industry in a big-picture setting, they thought about the problems of massive throughput and how something like an outbreak of pink eye linked to a VR arcade, for example, could potentially pull down the whole industry.
“Hygiene is something that applies to both the operator and end user,” Hedrick said. For the operator, cleaning with disinfectant wipes, for instance, can be somewhat effective, but you have to leave alcohol wet on a surface for 2-4 minutes for peak effectiveness, slowing throughput and leaving a smell for your customers. “It’s not recommended to do that on electronics anyway,” she added.
For end users, especially in this new era we’ve entered, hygiene will be critically important, and can be a barrier of entry to trying out the latest VR game at their local FEC if they think it’s not sanitary.
To see the full lineup of products and to stay up-to-date with the company, visit www.cleanboxtech.com.