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Let there be light! Compact sterilizing pod uses UV light to kill bacteria

You can’t see bacteria, but they’re practically everywhere. They’re on your hands, on your food, in your bed, on your pets. Luckily, not all bacteria are bad for you — many are beneficial. But, when there’s a baby in the house, it’s better to err on the side of caution and keep potentially harmful bacteria at bay.

A new product called Ellie might make that task a bit easier for parents. The compact sterilizing pod, which uses ultraviolet light to eliminate harmful bacteria, was recently launched in an Indiegogo campaign. But the concept has been a long time coming.

“Applying technology to improve people’s lives has been a focus of mine for a long time,” Ellie creator Yitao Liao told Digital Trends. “I grew up in southwest China where I witnessed firsthand what the spread of bacteria and viruses can do. People lacked access to clean, drinkable water. I lived through the 2004 SARS outbreak — a terrible example of how quickly germs can spread and kill people.”

In college Liao worked with LED lights and studied how photonics could have a social impact. “An LED lightbulb went off,” Liao punned, “and I thought about how combining LED with UV can take an LED from a technology that enhances lighting and displays to a technology that can actually save people’s lives.”

UV lights are already used in hospitals to help disinfect equipment and patient rooms. Ellie is intended to bring that ease and reliability to the family home.

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The pod uses a proprietary technology to kill 99.9 percent of harmful bacteria in just one minute, according to its creators. The disinfecting process even manages to eliminate antibiotic-resistant viruses called “superbugs.”

Back in the day parents boiled, steamed, or microwaved baby products to sanitize them. But Ellie’s creators insist their product is easier, safer, and be more versatile since it can sterilize anything that fits inside it, from toddlers’s toys to car keys, at the press of a button.

Ellie is currently available through Indiegogo perks for under $100.