EVERETT, Wash., March 5 (UPI) -- Boeing is in the process of developing virtually touchless, self-cleaning bathrooms for its commercial aircraft.
The airplane lavatory prototype, uses ultraviolet light to kill 99.99 percent of surface germs after being used. It is also equipped with a touch-free toilet, sink and hand dryer.
"We're trying to alleviate the anxiety we all face when using a restroom that gets a workout during a flight," said Jeanne Yu, Boeing Commercial Airplanes Director of Environmental Performance in a statement.
"In the prototype, we position the lights throughout the lavatory so that it floods the touch surfaces like the toilet seat, sink and countertops with the UV light once a person exits the lavatory. This sanitizing even helps eliminate odors."
The UV technology used is said to be different from the same rays used in tanning beds, making the disinfecting process mostly harmless to humans.
"The UV light destroys all known microbes by literally making them explode," said Jamie Childress, engineer at the Boeing Research & Technology department. "It matches the resonant frequency of the molecular bonds on the outside of the microbes."
The new bathroom design is being tested by Commercial Airplanes Product Development and BR&T before making its way to new aircrafts. The concept is also being evaluated for a Crystal Cabin Award.