Finnish health company Terveystalo has come up with an ingenious way to help smartphone users in the new normal - by turning billboards into phone disinfection terminals.

Terveystalo worked with creative collective TBWA\Helsinki to put up the instant smartphone cleaners at public places, for everyone's accessibility. The terminals require only 15 seconds of Ultraviolet C (UVC) exposure to fully clean a phone, thanks to the Nordic health leader's hospital-grade technology.

Despite its high-definition displays and protective cases, smartphones have been found to be close to ten times dirtier than the toilet. Additionally, a recent study published in the Virology Journal discovered that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can stay on glass surfaces like smartphone screens for up to 28 days.

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"We at Terveystalo see health in a wider context," said Veera Siivonen, Terveystalo Marketing and Communications Director, in a press release statement. She added that the company does not just cure diseases, they focus on prevention. Siivonen also stressed that in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, proper hand hygiene and a strong immune system are very important factors to remember.

Siivonen adds that aside from the portable and innovative solution for keeping smartphones safe in the new normal, the billboards also serve as an informational tool to remind people to take care of their health.

A One-Stop UVC Disinfection Spot

While there have been UVC cleaning implements for smartphones now available in the market, most of them take an average of fifteen minutes for a full cleaning. The new tech from Terveystalo, however, does the same task in just fifteen seconds. Additionally, a research from the company shows that as little as 10 seconds is enough to clean smartphone surfaces.

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Previous studies have already demonstrated the efficacy of using ultraviolet light in disinfecting a variety of surfaces - from high touch surfaces in hospital zones to different materials in relation to the novel coronavirus. In this quick disinfection solution, Terveystalo teamed up with Sterlight, a Finland-based developer and manufacturer of UVC solutions, including hospital-grade ones.

Dr. Udy Ben Yosef, Sterlights Oy's Chief Scientific Officer, explains that UVC solutions publicly available often use "low-output lamps" that in turn, require longer exposure times to work. In contrast, the UVC lights in the Terveystalo uses a 254-nanometer wavelength that is more effective in eliminating pathogens like viruses and bacteria. "These high-output UVC lamps take only 15 seconds to properly disinfect smartphone surfaces."

The UVC disinfection billboards, now available in the cities of Helsinki and Turku in southern Finland, contain a hatch for users to insert their smartphones in. The hatch and the smartphone in it is closed and is bathed in UVC light. In line with its complete safety promise, even the hatch handle is fashioned from copper - which has antimicrobial properties. Additionally, UVC is only emitted in the disinfection billboards once the hatch is closed, eliminating health hazards involved with UVC lights.

"Your phone is the dirtiest thing on you. Disinfect it here," the billboard message reads. A smartphone hatch rests in the center, with instructions for use beneath it.

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