Not On My Bingo Card: Christie Digital Getting Into Pathogen-Killing Ceiling Lights

October 20, 2021 by Dave Haynes

The pro AV and digital signage communities know Christie Digital for its projector systems and displays, so it’s slightly odd to see the engineering-led company getting into commercial disinfection products … until you remember who owns Christie.

The company, which has a big offices in suburban LA but a main R&D and production facility in Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada, has started the mass production and marketing of Christie CounterAct – ceiling light thingies that look like oversized smoke detectors. The devices use far-UVC light technology to actively kill pathogens like COVID-19 in busy venues like cinemas, theme parks, museums, sports complexes, retail, restaurants and mass transport hubs.

The solution was developed by Christie, but uses the Care222nm UV lamp technology from Christie’s Japanese parent company, Ushio Inc. The CounterAct line of mounted fixtures is intended for high-ceiling applications, and described as being as easy to install as commercial lighting fixtures.

The first UV disinfection technology developed for use around people, Christie CounterAct uses proprietary filtered far-UVC light to eliminate 99% of pathogens on surfaces in indoor spaces, including the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19, influenza, bacteria, and other antibiotic-resistant superbugs by damaging the DNA or RNA of the pathogen, which leaves them unable to reproduce and infect humans.

“With our CounterAct fixtures, as an added layer of defense, bringing customers back to the places they love to share and create memorable experiences, has never been safer,” says Brian Claypool, executive vice president, Cinema, Christie. “Many businesses and industries all over the world rely on being able to have their customers together in person, and they will need every tool available to help them do so safely.”

Very interesting. Christie sells projectors and other visual display tech into a lot of these target venues, so it is maybe not as unusual an effort as one might think at first glance.

As you might expect, the company spends more time reinforcing that lengthy exposure to far UVC light is safe, and that these are not  a variation on tanning salon lights hovering over people. Here’s what they say:

Far-UVC is a type of UV light that has long been used to disinfect spaces. But the longer wavelength (254nm) UVC light that’s traditionally used for disinfection presents a health risk to our eyes and skin, so can’t be used when people are present.

What’s new is the discovery and application of far-UVC 222nm light, a sweet spot on the UV spectrum, to effectively inactivate pathogens with people present without the need for protective gear. It’s technology that’s safer for use in occupied indoor spaces that allows for automated, continual pathogen-reduction.


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