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CHATTER: Virus-killing tech used at check-out counter (July 2020)

August 7th, 2020 · No Comments

COURTESY DARA GALLINGER

Between May 20 and June 1, a grocery store on Bathurst St took part in a cutting edge experiment to make sure customers took virus-free goods home from their store. The Summerhill Market (1014 Bathurst) worked on a pilot project of a machine called the X-Germinator which uses non-toxic UV light to damage the molecular structure of viruses in less than 30 seconds.

Real estate agent Alyssa Mincer and Dara Gallinger, a co-founder of the Toronto mill and bakery Brodflour, partnered with a medical startup called Prescientx, to develop the machine.

“We had a UV light machine to disinfect cellphones so I was wondering if that could be applied to groceries,” says Gallinger. “We did some research and found the Prescientx, the company which is developing the UV machines to sanitize N95 masks. We discussed the idea and developed the X-Germinator.” 

According to the manager of the Summerhill Market, Brad McMullen, there was a lot of interest in the machine from the customers, and people were excited see it in use.

The cashier would scan the grocery items then place them on a closed conveyer belt. On the belt they were passed through a UV-C tunnel where they were then exposed to the germicidal light. While the effectiveness of this process left little to be desired and left customers very pleased, manager McMullen took issue with the size of the machine and the amount of space it required in the grocery store environment.

Gallinger says a second prototype for the X-Germinator is currently in the works, and when it arrives in stores this August, it will be half the size of the original.

—Tanya Ielyseieva, Gleaner News

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