People are more concerned than ever before about how they keep their VR equipment clean. Disinfecting the tools that your employees use daily accomplishes more than just stopping the spread of disease and avoiding business interruptions because of illness.
It also shows concern for individual workers' well-being, which is critical to workplace morale. Hand sanitizer and antiseptic cleaning products are sufficient in many fields, but we have a few additional recommendations for those who use VR equipment.
Virtual reality controllers are frequently the simplest components to disinfect. Most are made of solid plastic and can be cleaned with an antiseptic wipe. However, cleaning and disinfecting head-mounted displays (HMDs) presents a unique challenge. They contain a variety of soft surfaces, such as velcro straps and foam cushions, that are resistant to disinfection with antiseptic solutions, as well as lenses and other exposed wiring that cannot be cleaned with certain liquid cleaners. This complicates traditional disinfection procedures.
UVC disinfection is an additional option. UVC disinfection, unlike antiseptic disinfection, uses ultraviolet light to kill pathogens without causing damage to sensitive equipment. Soft surfaces, such as the head straps and face guards on most HMDs, are also more effective with UVC disinfection. Because UVC disinfection does not require the use of liquids, the headset is ready to use right away without the need to wait for it to dry.
Aside from disinfection, a variety of accessories can be used as part of an overall equipment hygiene strategy. Replacing any foam pads on your HMDs with leather alternatives is one of the most effective changes you can make. Leather, unlike foam, is much easier to disinfect and will not absorb sweat or other bodily fluids that would otherwise be absorbed into a foam face guard.
The disposable VR facemask is another useful VR hygiene accessory. I accustomed most people to wearing a mask over their face to prevent the spread of infection, but disposable facemasks made of similar materials to mouth and nose coverings that act as a barrier between the user's skin and the HMD itself can improve that protection. These disposable face masks have the advantage of being simple to use in environments where workers already wear face masks, and they don't require any training in disinfection best practices.
Handling and storing disinfected equipment is the last step in any comprehensive VR hygiene protocol. Sterilization, like any other piece of equipment, is rendered ineffective if non-sterile hands handle it right away.
Workers should wash their hands before beginning the sanitization process and as needed while working with the equipment, regardless of the disinfection method used. When an HMD has been thoroughly sanitized, they should store it in a manner that ensures it remains clean until the next time it is used. With frequently used equipment, this could mean having the next user retrieve the equipment from your sanitization system.
If the equipment is going to be stored between uses, it should be kept in a cleanable case or a disposable sterilization bag, and special attention should be paid to labeling everything that has been sanitized to avoid confusion.
You can ensure the safety of yourself and your colleagues by developing a comprehensive hygiene plan for your VR equipment.
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