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Sterilizing Cell Phones


The news recently reported that cell phones are sometimes as dirty as toilets. They even tested random cell phones for germs, and the results were eye opening. As a result, I immediately cleaned my cell phone with rubbing alcohol.

In the same news show, the H1N1 virus is still spreading at an alarming rate. So I started to wonder if cell phones are not being cleaned often enough help spread the H1N1 virus as well as other common diseases. In my humble opinion, I would think so.


As a result, it got me thinking of two new ways to automatically clean cell phones and any other portable electronic devices, since people obviously do not clean them enough for themselves. Perhaps some people are afraid to damage their delicate electronic devices by applying cleaning solutions on them. Who knows?

My first idea is to create a cell phone charger that is a sealed box. When the phone is charging in the box and the box is securely closed, a strong ultraviolet (UV) light could sterilize any small electronic devices in the box. I think this is similar to how dentist sterilize their equipment.

Alternatively, a lot of cell phones close like clam shells. I believe they are called “flip” phones as is flip open. When these devices are closed, they could be easily sealed shut so that light can not enter or exit from inside the devices. At this time, a strong ultraviolet light could be generated from the device to sterilize the surface areas (such as the speaker and microphone where most people touch and deposit germs) that are no longer visible to the naked eye and are sealed shut. Remember that direct ultraviolet light can be dangerous to people, especially if it is strong enough to kill bacteria and viruses.

Furthermore, I would imagine that it would be somewhat easy to upgrade the screens or displays on these cell phones to give off these ultraviolet rays of light or to add a separate ultraviolet light bulb. This sterilization process can be automatic (i.e. each time the electronic device is closed or on a timer such as daily, weekly, or monthly while still closed) or manually activated. If power consumption is a concern, then it could only turn on when closed and charging so that the battery is not used at all when sterilizing.

Of course, there must be a safety feature to prevent the ultraviolet light to be turned on when the device is open, since this invention could harm people.

This is just my simple idea. Maybe someone out there can implement this solution and help keep people from getting sick.

by Phil for Humanity
on 11/23/2009

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