Engineers have come up with a machine that can bombard shopping carts with ultraviolet rays and sanitize them. As a result, wiping down supermarket trolleys with disinfectant to stem the spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus disease may soon be a thing of the past in Belgium.
The device is being tried out in three stores where shoppers have to take a trolley, wheel it into a metal box and close the door. After 10 seconds the doors open and shoppers can take the freshly sanitized cart to do their shopping.
“We wanted to make it even simpler than a microwave,” said Jean Demarteau, a member of OpenFlow, a social enterprise cooperative in the Belgium town of Namur whose volunteers design objects to help tackle the novel coronavirus.
“We have the equivalent of more than 2,000 suns in terms of UVC power received by the trolley. So the viruses have no chance of getting out and, once the cycle is over, the door opens automatically and the trolley is ready to use.”
Irradiation with UVC, a short-wave ultraviolet light, works as a disinfectant by killing or inactivating microorganisms.
Although the UVC cart zapper currently costs 7,000 euros for the most basic model, its designers say it will pay for itself in three months since supermarkets will not have to employ people to wipe down trolleys between customers.