Earlier this week, Boeing revealed their UV light self-cleaning flight bathroom. Combined with an automated toilet seat, sink, soap dispenser, and hand dryer, airport bathrooms could become some of the cleanest bathrooms around. Check out Boeing’s press release and video below:
After watching a steady parade of people emerge from the lavatory on an extended commercial flight, many passengers are reluctant to expose themselves to the germs left behind. But what if the lavatory could clean itself after every use? Boeing engineers and designers have built a prototype lavatory that uses ultraviolet (UV) light to kill 99.99 percent of pathogens, thus sanitizing all the lavatory surfaces. Combined with touchless faucets, soap dispensers and more, the lavatory of the future could make for a more hygienic, less worrisome experience.
The lavatory uses far UV light, which is different from the ultraviolet A or ultraviolet B light used in tanning beds or grow lights, so it’s not harmful to humans. It is harmful to bacteria and pathogens and kills those organisms that are left on the surfaces of the lavatory. “The UV light destroys all known microbes by literally making them explode,” said Jamie Childress, Associate Technical Fellow and a BR&T engineer. “It matches the resonant frequency of the molecular bonds on the outside of the microbes.” “We believe that using the far UV is the key to making those surfaces cleaner,” King said. “We position the lights throughout the lavatory so that it floods the touch surfaces like the toilet seat, sink, countertops, etc. with the UV light. This sanitizing even eliminates odors from bacteria so that passengers can have a more pleasant experience.”
The UV lights could clean the lavatory during flight when the door is closed and the lavatory is unoccupied to minimize human exposure to the light as an extra precaution. The cleaning system even lifts and closes the toilet seat by itself so that all surfaces are exposed. The cleaning cycle takes less than three seconds. The team’s design also incorporates hands-free faucets, a soap dispenser, trash flap, the toilet lid and seat, as well as a hand dryer to reduce the waste of paper towels. The team also is studying a hands-free door latch and a vacuum-vent system for the floor, all to keep the lavatory as hygienic as possible between scheduled cleanings.