Traveling in an airplane, although convenient, is often a very inconvenient experience for a vast majority of fliers. From cramped seats in economy class to limited overhead luggage room, you may have gone through many such unpleasant experiences. Add to it the fact that airplane lavatories never seem to be clean. Although they look clean, there’s a sense of uncleanliness (no doubt from an increasing amount of germs, and a somewhat foul smell) that you get as soon as you enter an airplane lavatory.
Well, not anymore, says Boeing, one of the largest aircraft manufacturers in the world.
Per a recently published patent, Boeing has come up with an Ozone disrupting UV light sanitizing system. The UV light sanitizing system will include a UV light assembly that will emit UV light onto surfaces that need sanitizing (like airplane lavatories as shown in the figure below). The UV light sanitizing system will also include an airflow generator (with a fan assembly) to generate -you guessed it- an airflow, between the UV light source and the surfaces where the UV light is emitted. This generated airflow disrupts the formation of ozone and keeps the amounts of ozone in the airplane to standards set by the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA). Ozone, if inhaled, can cause health hazards like damage to lungs, and chest pain among others. The UV light assembly, and optionally the airflow generator, will be contained within a housing.
The patent also keeps the surfaces and the scenarios where this UV light sanitizing system can be deployed to be pretty open-ended. This means, that this system can also be used in other places that need sanitizing, like public lavatories on the ground.
This is an example of one small invention that can really improve the flying experience of millions of passengers, and it remains to be seen how soon this technology is adopted and universally applied.
Publication Number: US20190060496A1
Patent Title: Ozone-disrupting ultraviolet light sanitizing systems and methods
Publication date: 2019-02-28
Filing date: 2017-08-30
Inventors: Brian J. Tillotson
Assignee: Boeing Co