VR and hygiene in the times of COVID19 (and after)

Coronavirus is the most common word we all have heard in 2019 and it won’t change in upcoming years. No surprise since it literally turned upside down our lives, our work and our reality we live in.
Before coronavirus, we didn’t even anticipate that something could have such a big impact on our lives and here it is.
Are there any positive aspects of this? Honestly not too many but I always try to see the glass half full than empty. The studies show that our impact on environment and CO2 production significantly decreases mainly due to not travelling that much. And another huge aspect which improved greatly is – we finally started to take care of our hygiene in our daily lives and work which ultimately will improve our lives.
Before corona, it was very unlikely to clean the VR (or AR) equipment beforehand. And that’s bizarre when you realise that you put it on your head so almost directly to our lungs.
I was at so many events and the biggest effort I’ve seen from exhibitors was to use a paper towel and cleaning spray with alcohol on the hardware. Some of the companies where using exchangeable covers for eyes, but that was it. Now we needed to really take a closer look at keeping our equipment safe – especially in places where multiple users are using the same device. The peoples’ lives are in our hands and this time it’s not an exaggeration.
I thought it would be good to summarise my findings in this field since some people are asking how they should handle this topic. For that purpose I’ve made a survey with my colleagues on XR field how do they handle such important aspect as keeping VR hardware clean and bacteria and viruses free. I’ve got a lot of responses and tried to summarise their experiences and suggestions bellow:

What should I do to keep my hardware sterile?

  1. If it’s possible always the best is to use one device per user. This is the ultimate protection. Of course, this is the rare commodity so let’s focus on the next points.
  2. The easier (and most effective way): always clean carefully the device after every use.
  3. Use clean paper and alcohol to clean every part of the device
  4. Please do remember that in VR glasses some of the parts are detachable. You should dismount them and clean every element.
  5. And at last and not least – if you can afford it – buy one of the decontamination boxes using UVC rays.
  6. You can use them not only for VR since they are quite convenient to decontaminate anything from masks to complicated equipment like VR glasses.

I checked what is available on the market. There are several solutions like this on the market but I will focus on the one I found most interesting:

1. CleanBox

This brand was the most mentioned between XR professionals. No wonder – since it’s quite versatile compared to the others. You can buy a device only for one VR glasses. How does its work you can check on this 1.5 min video below.

I studied the whitepaper they released recently and it seems that they use the same solution as the others – so UVC light which kills 99.99% of viruses and bacterias after only 1 minute of decontamination.

UVC light does bounce around the box, but the highest effectiveness is where the lights shine directly (line of sight). Because light obeys the inverse-square law of physics, the further it travels, the weaker the exposure. The CX1 is designed to shine light where it is needed most, at the distance that creates the maximum effectiveness, on the surfaces that touch a guest’s face when being worn.

Decontamination time:
1 minute (or more)

More at https://www.cleanboxtech.com

1. Uvisan

Uvisan works on the same basis as Cleanbox. But have a feeling that Uvisan devices are leaning more towards bigger events/companies. Since the smallest cabinet is much bigger than entry point from Cleanbox. I went trough their webpage and here are most important facts.

How does it work:
Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) is a disinfection method that uses short-wavelength ultraviolet (ultraviolet C or UVC) light to kill or inactivate microorganisms by destroying nucleic acids and disrupting their DNA

Protection anti-bacteria and viruses:
It is scientifically proven that UVGI kills all the bacteria, spores, viruses, protozoans, moulds and yeasts. The level of UV irradiance will kill 99.9% of Poliovirus 1, SARS, H-CoV 229E , H-CoVOC43, H-CoV 229E, Influenza A (H1N1), Covid19 in under one minute of exposure (*ref.: M. Buonanno, D. Welch, I. Shuryak, D.J. Brenner; DOI: 10.21203/ rs.3.rs -25728/v1), (*ref.: Tree et al. 2005), (*ref.:CDC, 2020) . The longer the exposure, the higher log reduction is achieved.

Decontamination time:
1 minute (or more)

NOT suitable for:

No liquids and no living creatures are allowed inside of our cabinets. Other than that, almost every commonly used item which needs a surface disinfection can be cleaned. 

More at https://www.uvisan.com/.

3. Uni-19

The last one I found is a Polish company producing unit for decontamination of various types of products. And VR is among them. They look more “industrial” comparing to the others but I assume they also make a job done.


Overall as you see it’s not rocket science. But if you use your VR/AR equipment professionally – you should definitely consider one of these UVC Boxes.
More at https://www.uni-19.com/

Author of this blog is not supported by any of these companies nor have a financial gain based on this article. Information gathered in this post are only to showcase solutions available on the market which ultimately can help you keep your hardware sterile.

Written by
Bartek Rozbicki
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