The smart lighting company Juganu has developed an LED lighting fixture that destroys bacteria and viruses found in closed spaces in the air and on surfaces, including COVID-19 viruses. The unique light fixture, called J. Protect, distributes a combination of visible light that illuminates the room along with ultraviolet light at UVA and UVC frequencies, which can disinfect and destruct pathogens in the room.
The efficacy and safety of the development were tested and verified in a laboratory at Bar-Ilan University and other academic and medical institutions. The new product has received marketing approvals from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Juganu has already sold several hundred units of the new product in a soft launch and is currently conducting several pilots with hospitals in Israel and Mexico. The main target market is the United States. To promote the marketing of the product in the country, Juganu raised about $18 million and will collaborate with large American companies, including Qualcomm, Comcast, and NCR.
The lighting fixture is based on Juganu’s smart LED technology, which allows to “mix” light at different frequencies by designing the chips in the LED surface, thereby adapting the light composition to different needs. For example, the company has developed streetlights that change their shades according to changes in natural light throughout the day, as well as lighting fixtures for greenhouse crops (including cannabis) and for healthcare and medical applications.
Illuminate and disinfect with one lamp
In a conversation with TechTime, the CEO and one of the company’s founders, Eran Ben-Shmuel, explained that the new development is another application based on the company’s core technology. “At the outset of the pandemic, we tried to think about how smart lighting can be used to cope with the crisis. We developed several prototypes, in which we incorporated light in wavelengths that perform disinfection, tested them in a laboratory in Bar-Ilan, and the results were remarkable.”
Virus destruction is accomplished using two areas of the UV light spectrum: UVA light, at 395-400 nm wavelengths, and UVC light, at shorter wavelengths of 365-375 nm. UVA radiation is not dangerous to humans, but it manages to penetrate the outer shell of viruses and bacteria and destroy them.
Experiments [Tests] have shown that UVA lighting manages to eliminate 99.9% of pathogens in a room within a few hours. UVC radiation is more powerful and exterminates pathogens in a room within minutes, but it is dangerous for humans. Therefore, in Juganu’s product, UVC radiation is activated manually, only when the room is empty of people.
A Solution to the problem of infections in hospitals
Although there are disinfectant solutions on the market that are based on UV radiation, the uniqueness of Juganu’s lighting fixture lies in the fact that the UV radiation is combined with normal lighting. Ben-Shmuel: “Because our fixture is also used for normal lighting, it disinfects the space continuously. Also, since it is an overhead lighting that fills the entire volume of the room in a uniform distribution, it also cleans surfaces and not just the air.”
The company is designating the new product for large spaces such as hospitals, shopping centers, restaurants, offices, etc. However, in addition to assisting in the handling the COVID-19 routine, the product addresses another serious problem unrelated to COVID-19: the many infections found in hospitals, which in Israel alone cause the deaths of thousands of people a year. “It is effective for most of the bacteria and viruses. When we tested the fixture in one of the hospitals, the lighting completely cleaned the room of all contaminants.”