LIFX makes some of the best smart bulbs around, but its recent release does more than just change the mood of a room. The LIFX Clean is a smart bulb that will also wipe out bacteria on surfaces.
This bulb does everything a regular smart bulb does – so you can access 550 billion colours, control it via an app, and it's compatible with Homekit, Alexa, and Google Assistant. But the feature everyone's really interested in is the cleaning mode.
As well as 'regular' light, this bulb's LED diodes can emit light at a wavelength of 405nm, known as HEV (High Energy Visible) light. It's scientifically proven to eliminate bacteria through exposure at certain lengths of time. While it's perfectly safe to be around, HEV light appears blue so you can't really use it as a light as the same time. The idea is that you schedule a Clean Cycle during the hours you're not using a room. The HEV light will then kick in and clean your home as you sleep or shop.
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There has been a renewed interest in the use of light for sanitisation purposes lately, but most of the focus has been on UV light. UV light is incredibly fast and effective at wiping out bacteria and viruses, but there are some downsides, namely that it has the potential to do some pretty major damage to human bodies – mainly the eyes and skin. That means you and your pets need to be well out of the way if you're going to use this method to disinfect your surfaces. There are ways around this – Philips' UVC lamp has a motion sensor and timer countdown to clear the room before switching on, for example – but it's still not ideal.
HEV doesn't have this issue; it can kill germs but remains safe for your family, pets and plants. So where's the rub? Well, chances are the main thing you're wanting to make sure your surfaces are clear of at the moment is SARS-CoV-2 (the coronavirus that causes COVID-19). And, unlike UV, there's very little to suggest that HEV is effective against viruses.
LIFX has made this clear in its Clean marketing. The product's announcement stated: "No claim is currently being made that the product is effective in an antiviral capacity of any kind, including on SARS-CoV-2."
So if you're purchasing this, be aware that you'll need to take other precautions to keep your home virus-free. And of course there are general hygiene benefits of keeping surfaces clear from bacteria – not least that if you do contract COVID-19, a bacterial infection could cause further complications.
The LIFX Clean is currently available to preorder in the US only (opens in new tab).
[Via The Verge (opens in new tab)]