Inspiration

Food delivery services have become essential businesses during the global pandemic.

The containers for food delivery are sometimes the only point of contact people may have with the outside world during a lock-down. They also come into contact with essential workers who are most exposed to the risk of infection.

Corona is a respiratory virus, and therefore not infectious through food-borne consumption, but can be inhaled from residue left on packaging after handling. Therefore, finding a way to disinfect the food delivery packaging virtually eliminates the risk to customers who order food delivery from a service like Foodora.

We use this solution already in our apartment to disinfect masks, which is where we drew our inspiration from.

What it does

Our add-on product to food delivery boxes used safe, environmentally friendly UV-C light as a germicidal and viracidal food delivery packaging disinfectant. UV-C light kills viruses by scrambling their DNA and RNA, making them incapable of reproducing.

It only takes 10-15 minutes to be effective, which Uber Eats lists as their average time for deliveries, making it a perfect solution for drivers to simply place the food packaging in their delivery box, turn on the UV-C light, and then turn it off when they arrive for their delivery.

The effective range of UV-C light is 2 meters. The cost is only $25 per bulb. The bulbs last for 1000's of hours. These could be easily and cheaply installed in existing semi-rigid food delivery packaging.

How I built it

We initially built the proof of concept to sanitize disposable masks following positive test results from 3M (page 6).

It's a really straightforward build which only requires a shoebox, aluminium foil and staples, as well as the UV-C compact fluorescent light and a screwable lightbulb socket (E27 standard).

We simply put the mask on top of a transparent plastic container inside the box, close it and flip the switch. Then after 15 minutes we turn it off and get back our toasty clean mask. According to 3M, the medium heating from the CFL lamp also contribute to the sanitizing process.

For the final product, we plan on making an additional lightweight, 3D printed, adjustable structure to keep the bag from deforming and to help mount the lightbulb onto. We could also explore the potential of UV-C light emitting diodes, which could save up the battery and extend the apparatus' lifespan.

Challenges I ran into

It was hard finding a powerful lamp fitting an E27 screw simply off Amazon, since most UV-C lamps for the general public are usually sold for aquarium algea removal and have a weird socket. Also they're usually not as powerful.

Another hurdle was how to make this safe. UV-C can severly damage the retina and give skin cancer (just like any UV light), so we bought some biological hazard stickers off Amazon and put some on the lightbulbs and a big one on the box, so that people wouldn't find this lamp and use it for decoration (as it emits a beautiful blue light).

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

We also tried making a limit switch based system to automatically turn the light on and off when closing/openning the box, and a timeout to shut it down after 15 minutes but we had trouble with my high voltage relay board and had to resort to a manual trigger instead.

However we have an Arduino code ready to make that switch work.

You can find it here on GitHub.

What I learned

Don't nail electronic components to the wall...

What's next for Sanitizer

Building it for a food delivery company

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Updates

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Low Cost, Highly Portable, Food Delivery Sanitizer

Description

Overview

Our proposal is a low cost, portable attachment to any food delivery service bag that floods the bag with safe, viracidal light.

foodora

Viracidal Effectiveness of UV-C Light

The range of wavelengths that effectively kill viruses and germs is 100-280nm, known as UV-C.

UV-C_range

This wavelengthis absorbed by the DNA and RNA of microscopic organisms like Corona viruses, which alters the structure of them, eliminating their ability to replicate. This is also known as Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation. Clordisys research on UV-C Effectiveness

effectiveness

Proudct Images

Light Unlit

Product Assembly

Light

Buttons

  • LED light included for style and safety for delivery driver to know if light is on or off. This can be sewed into the bag near the zipper opening.

ledbutton

Integration

foodoradelivery

User Experience

App Integration

Iconography

Option 1:

Iconred

Option 2:

Icon2

In App Icon

  • Facedrive Integration with Icon 1:

facedrive_eats

  • Foodora Integration with Icon 2:

foodora_page

Video on safe package handling

Link

Benefits

Clean

UV-C Viracidal Irradiation doesn't require airflow or sealed containers to effectively neutralize viral contaminents. It also leaves no harmful residue that has to be cleaned after decontamination,

Environemtally Friendly

No toxic chemicals are created by these UV-C lamps and disposal doesn't require special handling. The light doesn't contaminate the air or water so there are no environmentally harmful byproducts of using UV-C for decontamination.

Safe

UV-C light is safely observable by a user if it is done through a transparent plastic. Therefore, an optional transparent plastic square could be added to delivery bags for users who want to be able to observe the packages and light during operation. UV-C light will not pass through most plastics and glass, as well as many other materials.

Fast

Decontamination takes 10-15 minutes to be fully effective. This is extremely convenient as that is about the average time that deliveries take, so a driver can simply turn on the light when they collect the food and forget it until they arrive at their place of delivery. There is no harm from extended periods of exposure (like 1 hour).

According to the UberEats Delivery Information page:

"On average, our driver partners deliver within 15 minutes (from pickup to dropoff)**" -UberEats Website

Simple

The decontamination processs is easy to understand. Anything the light touches is being disinfected. Drivers can easily imagine where on the package the most effective decontamination will occur.

Short Range

UV-C decontamination effectiveness experiences exponential decay over distance. The effective range is 2 meters. This makes it a perfect solution for the close ranges of a food delivery package, which also often has reflective insulating material inside of it, which could help aid decontamination in nooks and crannies of the packaging.

Cost effective

The cost of a typical bulb is $25.

Long Lasting

These bulbs can last for 1000's of hours at max output. Even if we assume the delivery driver uses the add-on 10 hours per day, they can work 100 days per bulb.

Competition Information

Virtual Hacks vhchallenges

What must the final solution include?

  • Text Description: The text description should explain the features and functionality of your Application and/or a step by step walkthrough of the application / idea.

  • Images: The image(s) should be photographs or screenshots of your working Application.

  • Video/Presentation: The video portion of the Submission: a. should be less than five (5) minutes; b. must include footage that clearly explains the Application’s features and functionality through a comprehensive demonstration;

  • Additional information: Background of the idea conception, who is on the team, the problem statement and which sector the solution applies to (Health, Transportation, etc) and a value proposition.

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