Uruguayan interdisciplinary team created device to inactivate COVID-19 by means of ultraviolet radiation

The environmental disinfection device removes viruses from the air and on surfaces through ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
Publication date: 28/05/2020

Members of the careers of Technologist in Biomedical Engineering (TIB) and Mechatronics Engineering (IMEC) of UTEC (Universidad Tecnológica del Uruguay) produced a complementary instrument to the traditional disinfection and cleaning systems. The ethical and technical excellence of the professionals, their capacity to identify problems and find solutions in accordance with the current situation, shows the commitment of the professionals with the country's reality. 

The prototype has a UV-C lamp system that emits a wavelength that is highly effective against viruses with characteristics similar to Covid-19. The characteristics of the device allow it to adapt to hospital environments: it is a 20 kilogram, 1.75 meters high steel device and it has an LED display that shows the information in an accessible way. In addition, it has a micro-controlled system to measure the distance to people and thus start disinfection when they are not nearby.   

In only three days Lucas Baldezzari, Juan Pascual, Mauricio Santiesteban and Nicolás Nolazco, with the remote collaboration of Melina Zapata, Leonardo Nicola Siri, Juan Beret and Javier Billordo created the device with materials donated by the engineer Carlos Hartwich. The project participants are part of TIB and IMEC, courses that are taught at the Southwest Regional Technical Institute, located in Fray Bentos, Río Negro.

The TIB team set out to design a second prototype that would include features to track exposure time, date and time history, and disinfected areas. In the long term, the creators want the instrument to be autonomous and not dependent on people to move around.

The UTEC was created in 2017 with the aim of expanding the public tertiary proposal in the interior departments of the country. The technological profile training is aimed at contributing to the productive development of the country and to accompany its strategic guidelines.