Hyjeia – An Open Source UltraViolet Decontamination System

Hyjeia is an open source, low-cost, microbial decontamination system using ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI). The name is derived from Hygeia, the goddess of cleanliness, and the goal of the project is to make room-scale sterilization and decontamination equipment affordable and accessible. This type of system is useful for medical organizations and businesses whose workers may be exposed to dangerous pathogens.

The project is based on the decontamination protocol released by Nebraska Medicine‘s biocontainment unit, which previously handled ebola patients evacuated from Africa. The protocol was originally created to facilitate N95 mask re-use due to shortages caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. It relies on UVGI lamps to sterilize the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and prevent it from successfully replicating.

The Nebraska Med protocol contains the full process outline on how face mask sterilization for re-use will be performed including the different roles needed and the safety mechanisms that must be put into place.

They also give pictures on how they set up a decontamination room for mask sterilization.

And how they monitor the dosage to determine when sterilization is complete.

We based Hyjeia around Nebraska Med’s protocol because it could save organizations a huge amount of time from the trial and error to develop their own decontamination process. It’s a useful first step in creating their own protocol either by building on top of it or customizing it for their specific needs.

The protocol used two UV germicidal light sources which cost $25,000 each putting it out of reach for many small hospitals, clinics, organizations, and businesses.

This was the inspiration to create the Hyjeia project. Hyjeia aims to provide an equivalent system using off-the-shelf parts and customized open source hardware and software to bring the cost down to ~$100 USD for a starting system.

What is Hyjeia

Hyjeia consists of an ultraviolet germicidal light source, a wireless dosimeter, and a laptop for remote monitoring. All hardware and software source files are open source and available for download from the hackerfarm github repository.

The light source uses standard fluorescent light fixtures fitted with UV germicidal bulbs. This light source can be built using standard lumber from a hardware store and lighting fixtures commonly available in most countries. For the UV germicidal bulbs, they are quickly disappearing in the US, although still available in Japan and plentiful in China.

We are currently discussing with our purchasing agent in China to secure UV germicidal bulbs from factories and our shipping agent as to how they can be shipped to locations that need them. If you’re able to source UV germicidal bulbs, handle warehousing, distribution and fulfillment, or handle the build and installation, please contact us and we can coordinate.

The wireless dosimeter is open source and based on a commonly used, open platform called Arduino. We are currently in discussions with various open hardware manufacturers to build and make them available for purchase. If you have automated surface mount assembly equipment and think you will be able to assemble and distribute them in your country, city, or locality, contact us and we can try and get you set up. Otherwise, the schematics, fabrication files, and bill of materials are available in the github repository if you want to go ahead and build them yourself.

The main purpose of the project is to duplicate the equipment and functionality used in Nebraska Med’s paper an make it affordable and accessible. This would allow people to set up their own decontamination system for equipment reuse or safety purposes. We envision a system being set up as follows:


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Under Construction
This project is still under construction. Please check back regularly for the latest updates.