Boeing (NYSE: BA) engineers and designers have developed a self-cleaning lavatory prototype that uses ultraviolet (UV) light to kill 99.99 percent of germs, the airline said.
The cleaning system can disinfect all surfaces after every use in just three seconds. Boeing believes this self-cleaning technology, combined with touchless features, will enhance the passenger experience on commercial flights.
The lavatory uses Far UV light that would be activated only when the lavatory is unoccupied. Far UV is different from the UVA or UVB light in tanning beds, and is not harmful to people. Boeing engineers have shown through testing on their prototype that this innovation can minimize the growth and potential transmission of micro-organisms. Boeing has filed for a patent on this concept.
The cleaning system, which will require further study before it can be offered to airlines, would lift and close the toilet seat by itself so that all surfaces are exposed during the cleaning cycle. The design also incorporates a hands-free faucet, soap dispenser, trash flap, toilet lid and seat and a hand dryer. A hands-free door latch and a vacuum vent system for the floor are also under study, all to keep the lavatory as hygienic as possible between scheduled cleaning.