Advances in UV technology for biometric disinfection

Ideco Biometrics has a new solution for disinfecting biometric sensors by using ultraviolet technologies to destroy most known viruses and bacteria. The company has introduced Steri-C, an ultraviolet disinfection device to ensure the safe use of touch-based fingerprint readers. Steri-C is easily mountable on existing fingerprint readers and has no adverse impact on the normal operations or accuracy of the fingerprint reader. It offers fast and effective UV irradiation for optimal destruction of all known microorganisms, including the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for COVID-19.

Hi-Tech Security Solutions asked Ideco’s CEO, Marius Coetzee, how the solution is applied to existing equipment. Coetzee replied that depending on the type of fingerprint reader, the device can either be fixed directly to the reader or attached using a custom-made bracket. “When installing the unit, it is however important to position the UV-C light centre to the surface area of the fingerprint sensor, not more than 25 mm away from the sensor to ensure sufficient UVC irradiation of the sensor.”

The device itself is 4,6 mm thick, which ensures it takes as little space as possible and can be used on almost any biometric reader. More specifically, Coetzee explains it will work on any fingerprint reader with a surface area not more than 24 mm x 24 mm. However, he advises that the device is not IP rated and should not be used in direct sunlight or rain.

Backed by research

The use of UV-C (200-225 nm) as a disinfectant is supported by decades of scientific research and has been used for disinfection with applications in water treatment, air systems and surfaces. UV light is able to achieve thorough disinfection far quicker than the other traditional methods; it is highly effective in destroying viruses, bacteria and fungal spores.

Steri-C is based on Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) recommendations for medical sanitisation practice according to the International Ultraviolet Association (IUVA) and the FDA. The specific UV-C used by Steri-C was proven effective against the coronavirus by Boston University’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories.

When viruses are exposed to UV-C, its effects on the molecular structures destroy the structural bonds in the DNA, with a resultant rendering of the virus harmless and stopping its spread.

Coetzee adds that the unit is configured to supply 1,8 seconds of irradiation after every use, which delivers a sufficient dose to ensure the safe use of the fingerprint reader, if installed correctly.

Netcare also recently introduced the Xenex Pulsed Xenon UV disinfection robot, a germ-zapping robot to take the war on ‘superbugs’ to a new level. The robot emits UV-C spectrum light, which destroys the DNA of bacteria, viruses and fungi to neutralise them and prevent them from replicating.

Fast and effective

Coetzee says Steri-C is ideal to make biometric readers COVID-19 safe and maintain normal biometric operations during high-risk periods. “It is the perfect solution for improving hygiene and to limit contamination. Steri-C has been designed for fast and effective operations, ready to be integrated into your existing fingerprint readers.”

The device can be retrofitted to most fingerprint readers available on the market. Disinfection is triggered immediately after every use of the reader. It boasts built-in intelligence to automatically detect when the biometric terminal has been used.

“Steri-C can be pre-installed as a standard feature on biometric terminals purchased from Ideco,” he concludes.