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This massive light fixture could disinfect public spaces. But is it safe?

As vaccines continue to roll out and life starts to get a little more normal, Studio Roosegaarde is releasing a project that could help it stay that way—and maybe mitigate other viruses in the future.

The project, called Urban Sun, is a light fixture designed for public spaces, which the Dutch design firm says can “safely clean up to 99.9% of the coronavirus” by emitting far-UVC light at a specific wavelength (222 nanometers) that early research shows can deactivate viruses without harming humans.

Studio Roosegaarde tested and launched Urban Sun in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, in accordance with that city’s health guidelines, according to Studio Roosegaarde founder Daan Roosegaarde, who said it was also measured and calibrated by the VSL Dutch National Metrology Institute and is supported by Jet Bussemaker, Dutch president of the Council of the Public Health & Society Board. Roosegaarde came up with the idea after reading an article in Nature on how far-UVC light could be safely used to eradicate viruses (in comparison to the standard 254-nanometer wavelength, which is hazardous to humans) in 2019. It has even more importance now that COVID-19 has slammed communities across the globe, but it’s not COVID-19 specific: it will work for all viruses, Roosegaarde says.

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