Singaporean

Phones Carry 10x More Germs Than A Toilet Seat: This S'pore Startup Helps Keep It Clean

If you weren’t a clean freak before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, you probably are extra conscious about hygiene now.

Organisations from the World Health Organisation to the National Environment Agency in Singapore have urged the public to keep their surroundings clean as the first line of defence against the virus.

While we sanitise our hands frequently and wash them for the duration of two ‘Happy Birthday’ songs, we might forget that there are millions of germs lurking on items we carry around everyday — like our smartphones.

This is rather shocking, but scientists at the University of Arizona have found that mobile phones carry 10 times more germs than most toilet seats.

So how exactly do we ensure the cleanliness of our phones? Homegrown startup Zygienic provides us with a straightforward way to clean our phones.

Helping S’poreans Keep Safe

Simply place your phone on the UV Phone Sanitiser / Image Credit: Zygienic via Facebook

Co-founded by Bryan Wang, who is also the founder of snack startup WOKWOK that specialises in cereal prawn and truffle potato chips, Zygienic’s flagship product is an ultraviolet (UV) phone sanitiser.

When Covid-19 hit, Bryan saw it as an opportunity to adapt. As the world struggled with the virus, he thought it would be great to “come up with products that would help people stay safe.”

That was when Bryan and his partner began looking into effective ways to protect people from germs. The team identified the cleaning of mobile phones as an under-recognised pain point.

Turns out, they hit the nail on the head. Since their Singapore launch in June, sales were “beyond expectations”.

UV Phone Sanitiser: How It Works

Users can simply place their phone on the UV Phone Sanitiser, push the button to kickstart the sanitising process and let the UV light do all the work.

After 15 minutes, a built-in timer notifies you when the disinfection is complete. 99% of the germs on your phone will be eradicated.

Other notable features of the phone sanitiser include the ability to charge phones during the sanitisation process.

To ensure that users can keep up with any important notifications during the 15 minutes, the device features a translucent screen instead of an opaque lid.

Sanitise everyday items like keys and watches as well / Image Credits: Zygienic via Facebook

Besides mobile phones, the product is also big enough to use for everyday items as well, from reusable masks to keys.

UV Light Widely Used Globally

The use of UV light to kill germs is not novel and has already been rolled out as part of measures to prevent Covid-19 .

The Singapore government plans to deploy over 200 locally made robots to disinfect surfaces using UV light in shopping malls, transport and healthcare services by the end of 2020.

UV Covid-19 prevention measures has been making its way around the world as well. In Shanghai, the interior and exterior of buses are fitted with UV lights which can kill 99.9% of germs in the bus in a span of five to seven minutes.

According to Allied Market Research, the global UV disinfection equipment market is projected to reach US$3.4 billion in value by 2026.

Bryan and his team saw these developments as an opportunity to innovate for consumer goods as well. After lots of trial and error, the team managed to incorporate the UV technology into a portable device for mobile phones.

Similar to these robots, Zygienic’s Phone Sanitiser emits ultraviolet-C (UV-C) light which can disrupt the DNA of microorganisms, preventing them from performing vital cellular functions.

Moving forward, the team will be working on a range of products “that will be useful for everyone in this present age that we live in.”

Featured Image Credit: Zygienic via Facebook

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