According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the aerosolized Covid virus can linger in the air for hours. That’s where the Nanowave Air comes in.
The portable, conical pod-shaped device created by Dynamics Inc. has four motors that pull in air. Using ultraviolet light, the device can inactivate up to 99% of the Covid virus at up to 300 liters per minute. With air coming through at this speed, the virus is inactivated in less than two-thousandths of a second.
In another measure, the Nanowave Air can process all of the air in an 800-square-foot room in 75 minutes.
From their factory in Cheswick, Dynamics Inc. mainly produces flexible electronics for smart cards and mobile phones. When the Covid crisis hit, they saw something else they could do.
“We started this to try to help,” says Dynamics CEO Jeff Mullen, who started the company at Carnegie Mellon University. “We had technology that we thought could provide a solution to this very tough problem.”
Their manufacturing process had long worked with UV light. “We have robots the size of cars that provide high-intensity UV light,” explains Mullen. “We were also working for the better part of a year on a flexible light platform, for a project. So back in March, we realized that we could develop a very cutting-edge, super high-intensity UV-type-C light system very quickly.”
They contacted several labs in the National Institute of Allergens and Infectious Diseases Biodefense Laboratory Network (NIAID), including at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Vaccine Research.
“We explained what we do and our expertise, and multiple labs agreed to test our devices with actual SARS-CoV-2,” says Mullen.
“We started testing these devices against SARS-CoV-2 in multiple mediums: in liquid, on surfaces, and in air. And we started to really understand how you can change different wavelengths, and you could provide different types of treatments … in order to inactivate SARS-CoV-2.”
They first inactivated the SARS-CoV-2 virus in a U.S. lab in May.
“We believe it might be the first inactivation in the world for SARS-CoV-2,” says Mullen. “I believe Japan documented their first inactivation in June.”
They launched the product last Tuesday and started shipping units on Wednesday. The Nanowave Air 300 Kit retails for $3,450, with a carrying case, tripod and power supply.
“Dynamics has created one of the first viable tools for inactivating the Covid virus,” says Elias Towe, a professor of materials science and engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. “The performance of the device, as measured at major U.S. laboratories, is impressive. What is remarkable is that Dynamics modified some of their unique know-how in flexible microelectronic techniques and merged these with emerging UV-C light technologies to produce intensities sufficient to inactivate the virus.”
The device is already in use in homes. “Yesterday, I got pictures of two units being installed in a Covid home, where a child has tested positive,” says Mullen. “There’s one device in the child’s room to reduce the viral load in that room, and there’s one device outside the room to reduce the viral load where the parents are.”
From hospitals to cubicles to checkout lines, the device has a lot of potential applications.
“This may be particularly useful for certain bathrooms, reception areas, office spaces, retail spaces, elevators, meeting rooms and even vehicles,” says Mullen.
Dynamics employs more than 50 people, and is hiring — and looking to build a sales team, in particular. The company has proved over the years that they can raise money.
“We’ve raised over $110 million since our formation,” notes Mullen. “Our last round was a $70 million round led by Mastercard.”