B2 High-Intermediate US 76 Folder Collection
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- Can we talk about cooties for a second?
Germs apparently are everywhere and they're invisible.
Let's be honest, if they're big enough
where you can see them, they're extra disgusting.
I'm talking to you, gas station bathrooms.
Well now, one of the smartest things
that is often covered with cooties can light up
and get a nice little bath in the process.
Here's Adam Yamaguchi to explain.
- We're instinctively aware where germs thrive.
Kitchen counters, airplanes, doctor's offices.
What about your smartphone?
- When people learn that phones are really, you know,
18 times dirtier than a public restroom.
It's really shocking to people 'cause they interact
with phones so often, and it's just a matter
of like stopping and thinking about their habits.
Do they realize that, yeah, I can see why my phone
is this disgusting.
- This life sciences college major
was so disturbed by how filthy his own phone was,
he set out to invent a device to clean it,
leaning on the magical properties of ultraviolet light
to do the work.
- UV lights have been used for, you know,
decades in hospitals and laboratories
to disinfect surfaces.
Think of it as like a tanning bed for your phone.
It opens up, you place your phone inside
and when you close it back up,
the ultraviolet lights turn on and kills all the bacteria
in just a matter of minutes.
- I headed to Provo, Utah, to meet
Wesley Laporte and learn more about scrubbing germy gadgets
with his innovation, called Phonesoap.
- Most of the development work happens
on the shape of the inside.
We place light sources in different areas
and test the concavity of the shell to make sure
that light's bouncing around all in there,
and then we build in the reflectivity into the device.
And this right here is actually a piece of quartz
because the wavelength of UV light that kills germs
actually doesn't pass through plastic or glass even,
it only passes through quartz.
It allows us to reflect light all around the phone.
- When UV light penetrates the bacteria's
cell wall, it kills its DNA,
preventing it from reproducing and reducing the chances
of you getting infected.
Wesley took me to his alma mater, BYU,
to lab test my phone using Phonesoap.
- We're gonna swab your phone before using Phonesoap,
and we're gonna put that swab onto this plate,
and it's gonna help grow the bacteria.
Then after we've swabbed it,
we're gonna put it in the Phonesoap for 10 minutes,
and we're gonna take it out and do the same thing again,
and we'll compare how many germs are there before
versus how many germs are there after.
- Wesley swabbed my phone and labeled the before
petri dish B.
Then after we cleaned my phone for 10 minutes in Phonesoap,
he swabbed it and then labeled the after dish A.
- Now we're gonna put these plates,
the before and the after, in this incubator,
and we're gonna leave it for 24 hours,
and we're gonna come back and see what grew or didn't grow.
- I'm afraid to know.
- Here's your phone back in the meantime.
- (laughs) Thank you.
After waiting 24 hours,
I came back to the lab to learn
the results.
- Moment of truth.
Okay, this is the before petri dish.
This is what you phone like was before Phonesoap.
Oh, my goodness.
- Oh, it smells, too.
- Yeah, the stuff growing on our phone is--
- Wow.
- is wild.
And this is the after petri dish.
- Wow.
- Yeah, nothing grew.
- Hmm.
- Much different.
- Well, I go home with a very clean phone.
- Yes.
- I think you've invented the new form
of like, shaming.
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UV Light that Disinfects your Smartphone | The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation

76 Folder Collection
Huang Yu-Fen published on June 15, 2020
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