January 18, 2022

COVID Protection With the Flick of a Switch

Alumnus Launches UV Light Disinfectant

Technion alum Eran Ben-Shmuel ’05 has come out with a product he hopes will literally be “the light at the end of the tunnel of the COVID-19 era.” He and his company, Juganu, have launched an indoor lighting system, which uses a mix of ultraviolet light that reportedly inactivates up to 99.9% of viruses and bacteria, including the SARS-CoV-2 virus that leads to COVID-19.

The system, J. Protect, comes at a time when the world is trying to figure out how to safely reopen indoor spaces, in winter, when safer, outdoor options are unavailable. Ben-Shmuel said his system can be installed in a variety of public places, including hotels, hospitals, airports, schools, and health facilities, as well as retail stores, gyms, and office spaces.

J. Protect can be operated remotely from a cell phone app, and works in two modes. When set on “Allegro,” J.Protect can be used safely while people are in the room to provide continuous protection. “Presto” mode uses a more potent UV light that disinfects the room in less than an hour after it is cleared of people.

Ben-Shmuel has said his solution differs from others in that a combination of UV-A and UV-C lighting inactivates bacteria and viruses faster. Also, J. Protect employs a circadian lighting system that recreates natural light shifts based on sunrise and sunset, developed earlier by Ben-Shmuel and his partner, Juganu co-founder and CTO Alexander Bilchinsky ’05. J. Protect has been clinically proven by the Bar-Ilan University Faculty of Medicine. And Juganu is continuing to validate its effectiveness in a clinical study with Professor Sima Yaron of the Technion Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Engineering.

J. Protect is registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 48 states including Florida, where the owner of the Glo Aesthetics spa has replaced all the lights in her business with J. Protect lighting. The product is also used in commercial spaces in Chile, India, Israel, and France, where Juganu won Renault’s “License to Clean Hackathon,” giving the company the go-ahead to demonstrate its virus-cleansing lights inside car cabins. Juganu has been working with Comcast, Qualcomm, and NCR Corp. to bring earlier technology in “smart” wireless lighting to public spaces.

Mr. Ben-Shmuel earned a dual bachelor’s degree from the Technion in electrical engineering and physics, toured as a classical violinist, and serves as Juganu CEO. Mr. Bilchinsky earned his undergraduate degree in computer science, electrical engineering, and physics at the Technion, where he met Mr. Ben-Shmuel. The two launched RF Dynamics (now Goji Food Solutions) before co-founding Juganu in 2011.