Technology has certainly helped us during the current pandemic.
Working from home is easier now that it would have been five years ago. The advent of services like Zoom and Microsoft Teams has brought video conferencing to the masses.
COVID-19 has changed the way we look at and use technology.
There are new gadgets now that have been developed just to help us live the best life we can during this challenging time.
We have all heard advice from medical professionals.
Wear a mask.
Wash your hands.
Don’t touch your face.
So what about our gadgets?
Think about how many times you pick up your phone each day. Do you still take calls by holding your phone up to your face?
Your phone is a germ magnet.
I set my phone down and pick it up a dozen or more times every day. I’m sure you do, too.
How often do you clean your phone, your tablet or your laptop?
I had been using sanitizing wipes to clean my devices, but now they’re almost nonexistent on store shelves, so I was ready to try something different.
A business pivot
Monos is a Canadian company that makes hard-sided luggage, but with the downturn in the travel industry, it has begun to manufacture a portable sanitizer for surfaces and objects.
The Monos CleanPod UVC Sterilizer ($90) is a battery-powered wand that uses special LEDs to emit a high-energy beam of ultraviolet C light (UVC) that can kill up to 99.9% of germs.
“With the impact of COVID-19 growing so rapidly, we wanted to find a way our business could help our community during this difficult time,” said Victor Tam, the co-founder of Monos. “We wanted to create a product that is beneficial to the everyday person while also contributing to a good cause. We feel so passionately about the CleanPod because it is a product that offers a sustainable, long-term way to stay safe and sanitize, but also because we’re able to give back to our community during this time when travel is uncertain.”
Part of the proceeds from sales of the CleanPod will go to the United Way India COVID-19 National Response Fund.
UVC light has very short wavelengths that are fatal to germs and bacteria.
According to Monos, “Ultraviolet C (UVC) light has a very short wavelength and very high energy. Wavelengths between 200–300 nm are considered germicidal, as they are strongly absorbed by nucleic acids.
“UVC light is proven to be highly effective in killing bacteria and other pathogens by scrambling their DNA or RNA (their genetic code). Once their genetic code is broken, they can no longer function.”
UV light is used to sanitize small items in places like labs, hospitals, barber shops and gyms.
I’ve also heard about UV light sanitizers that are a small box you can put things in and close the lid to use UV light to sanitize the contents.
Those boxes are neat, but they do limit the size of the items you can clean.
The CleanPod is a wand, so you can sanitize larger objects and surfaces, and it doesn’t have to be plugged in to do its job.
The CleanPod is compact and light. It is about 8.5 inches long and fits comfortably in your hand.
It is powered by a 2,000-milliamp hour rechargeable battery that is charged up with an included USB-C cable. The battery will last for about three hours of cleaning.
The CleanPod has two kinds of UV LEDs. There are both UVA and UVC LEDs.
The UVC LED wavelength is 265 to 275 nanometers, while the UVA LEDs have a wavelength of 400 nm.
UVC light is not very bright, but UVA lights have a purple tint. The purple light helps you see where the cleaning is happening.
The wand has a safety switch to keep the wand from being used by children and to keep you from turning the unit on accidentally.
UVC light is harmful to your eyes and your skin, so don’t look into the light and don’t try to sanitize your hands (or any other skin).
The CleanPod does get a bit warm while you use it.
Monos says exposing surfaces to at least 30 seconds of the CleanPod’s light will kill 99.9% of germs.
The instructions say to hold the LEDs about an inch over the surface you are cleaning.
I unboxed the CleanPod and plugged in a USB-C cable and charged it up.
Charging the battery takes about 2.5 hours.
How it’s used
The controls are quite easy to master. The safety switch is purposely difficult to move. Once you turn off the safety, press the single gold button that turns the LEDs on or off.
There is a three-minute timer on the light to keep things from getting too hot, but you can turn the light back on after it shuts off.
Monos includes a white cloth bag to keep the CleanPod safe when it’s not in use.
It is so easy to use that I found myself sanitizing all kinds of things around my office.
My keyboard and mouse were easy targets. I also swept over the arms of my office chair while I was sitting there.
I have a desk phone that also got a good dose of UVC.
Then I got up and started looking around.
I sanitized the door handle to my office on both sides.
Then I took off down the hall (wearing my mask) and started looking at surfaces up and down the hallways.
I know these things are sanitized by our cleaning crew, but I couldn’t resist sweeping the UVC light over the elevator buttons as I rode up to the second floor.
As I showed the CleanPod to my colleagues, they all took the opportunity to sweep it over their own keyboards and mice and phones.
My wife even asked to use it on her phone and laptop. I can also see using the CleanPod to sanitize incoming mail and packages.
This is a very nice little device to keep on your desk or around the house. The fact that it runs off a rechargeable battery is helpful. Best of all, I don’t have to wake up early to get to the store in time to buy more sanitizing wipes.
Pros: Kills bacteria and germs without chemicals, rechargeable battery, portable.
Cons: It needs a better instruction manual, and the included USB-C able is too short.
Bottom line: I’m buying one for my parents.