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Georgia Tech researchers engineer portable box to sanitize PPE

They duo said the boxes are portable enough for police, EMT's and other first responders to take on the go.

ATLANTA — Researchers at Georgia Tech have created a box to disinfect personal protective equipment in the quickest and most effective way. They said the boxes have the potential to help with PPE shortages by giving first responders a way to re-wear the same PPE safely.

Georgia Tech researchers Dr. Robert Harris and Roger Campbell created the UVC-PPE disinfection boxes. They duo said the boxes are portable enough for police, EMT's and other first responders to take on the go.

"They are coming into contact with the public repeatedly and they need to protect themselves," Harris explained.

So, what makes the box so great at killing COVID-19?

First, the size. Harris and Campbell said it is large enough to fit a face shield or multiple pieces of PPE at the same time - without the pieces overlapping.

"As long as there's no shadow on the item, you'll be able to disinfect that item," Campbell said.

Second, the light bulbs are UVC, or germicidal. They’re stronger than regular UV lights and are the most effective wavelength for killing viruses, according to Harris and Campbell.

Credit: WXIA

But, that can make them dangerous too.

"Your eyes and skin must never be exposed to UVC, and it must have a safety. We put a safety switch on our lid," Harris said.

With the UVC bulbs Harris and Campbell used, it only takes eight minutes of disinfecting for best results.

The pair said they hope to test them out and put them in Georgia Tech Police cruisers in the next few weeks.

And while the boxes aren’t for sale, they’re publishing guidelines online, showing how anyone can safely make their own for about $100.

You can find the guidelines here: https://projects.research.gatech.edu/node/529

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