You know where your hands have been. And your hands are all over your cell phone. It's a matter of fact that your cell phone is pretty filthy. A team of designers have devised a cell phone charger that can clean up all the bacteria on said disgusting cell phone and make it sanitary for you to handle again.
The team of four designers heard a report that "phones have 18 times more harmful bacteria than the handle on a male public toilet... We saw reports saying that besides the flu, researchers have found staph, E. Coli, and MRSA living on our cell phones! In fact, people are using their phones even before they leave the stall, which led researchers to find that 1 in 6 phones have fecal matter on them."
Well now that's just bad hygiene skills on the behalf of the cell phone user, but that didn't stop the team from coming up with the PhoneSoap.
PhoneSoap is a small box that simultaneously charges and sanitizes your cell phone using UV-C light. UV-C light is electromagnetic radiation that’s used in hospitals and clean rooms around the world. This short wavelength of light penetrates the cell wall of the bacteria and disrupts its DNA, effectively killing it. It is 99.9% effective in killing bacteria and virus'. Best of all it is completely safe.The UV-C light is only on for 3-5 minutes at a time and there is no heat or liquid involved so there is no risk of damaging your phone. There is a UV-C light on the top and on the bottom of the box so that the UV rays surround your phone for complete sanitization. Take a look at our before and after pictures to see how powerful PhoneSoap is:
Considering that image, it is no wonder that supporters were eager to toss in funds for the project. The Kickstarter project raised over $37,500, though the fundraising goal was for just $18,000. So clearly, this hits home for many germaphobes.
Here is a video of the concept:
However, does this cell phone charger present the same problems as anti-bacterial soaps? Soaps that kill bacteria, as well as Purell-style purifying gels and the over-use of antibiotics, have been under the gun for causing the creation of superbugs, or bacteria that's harder and harder to kill. Is a charger like this really all that necessary if you already wash your hands (with good old fashioned soap) fairly often? After all, exposure to germs on a certain scale helps to boost your immune system anyway.
I must admit, to me it seems like a waste to come up with an electronic device that kills bacteria. Indeed, it is a Sisyphean task to get rid of all the grossness on your cell phone all the time. You're just going to goober it up again in a few minutes. It seems smarter to wash your hands more often -- and skip using the phone while in the bathroom -- rather than order a new electronic device. That's a hefty environmental footprint to create, from the materials to embodied energy in the charger, just to keep your phone slightly cleaner.
Even so, it seems that the Ick Factor reigns supreme here, and a charger that zaps bacteria is on its way out to the masses for about $40 a pop.