08. April 2021, 12:56 Uhr | Kathrin Veigel
UV-C inactivation of pathogens makes touchscreens sterile.
At public vending machines, the input screens are usually not cleaned after use - critical from a hygiene point of view. The Fraunhofer Institute FEP and its development partners are now tackling this problem. Their solution: automated, continuous cleaning of touch displays.
The high user frequency of touch displays in public spaces represents a potential source of danger for germ transmission. You can quickly catch a few germs, bacteria or viruses there. The CleanScreen project aims to counteract this. In this project, the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology (FEP), together with its partners Fischer Electronicsysteme, RBC, and GMBU e.V. (Halle Section), is developing an automated hygienization solution that disinfects the screen in the shortest possible time without having to clean it manually each time.
An LED-based UV source continuously disinfects a movable display surface inside the vending machine, which is moved after each user operation. Each user receives a fresh surface, so to speak. Thus, cleaning is achieved between each user operation and the risk of germ transmission is minimized. After just a few seconds of treatment with UV-C light in the immediate vicinity of the surface, 99.99 percent of pathogens are inactivated.
The great advantage of the new system is that it operates continuously and can be integrated directly into the vending machine. This makes manual cleaning of the displays between each user unnecessary, while at the same time the user is not exposed to UV radiation. In addition, there are no long waiting times between each user operation.
Based on many years of experience in the field of germ inactivation, Fraunhofer FEP acts as an interface between biology and technology in the project. Here, a defined test procedure is carried out in the laboratory to check the effectiveness of the developed technology: the display surface of the system is covered with germs, and after the subsequent disinfection of the display with UV-C light, an agar plate test is used to determine how many germs are still present. The result is used to determine whether there is still a need for development.