Light equipment maker Ushio’s Care 222 UV lamp is expected to be used to disinfect heavily trafficked spaces where people run the risk of contracting the deadly bug, including buses, trains, elevators and offices, Japan Today reported.
UV lamps have been widely used for sterilization, notably in the medical and food-processing industries, and JetBlue recently announced plans to use the technology aboard its planes.
However, conventional UV rays cannot be used when people are present because they cause skin cancer and eye problems.
But Ushio’s new UV lamp emits rays with a wavelength of 222 nanometers, as opposed to the conventional 254-nanometer wavelength, making them deadly to germs but harmless to humans, the news outlet reported.
At 222 nanometers, the UV rays cannot penetrate the skin and eyes to cause cancer-causing genetic defects and other damage, according to Ushio.
When emitted from a ceiling, the UV from the new machine snuffs out 99 percent of viruses and bacteria in the air and up to a 32-square-foot surface of objects about eight feet away from the lamp, in six to seven minutes, Japan Today reported.
The 2.6-pound Care 222 device, which is about the size of a hardcover book, costs about $2,800.
Ushio said it only accepts orders from medical institutions for now, but that it will serve other customers once production catches up with demand.