Now with UL approval, Targus finally readies shipments of its UV-C desk lamp

Jan. 10, 2022
It relaunches the 265-nm LED keyboard disinfection product at CES, planning February availability.

Talk about “safety first.”

At last week’s CES, it first looked like Targus was introducing a UV-C desk lamp for disinfecting computer keyboards. The company — known for its laptop cases — did indeed show the product, which operates at 265 nm, a frequency known to deactivate the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 (in appropriate dosage applications, according to studies). It scheduled February availability.

But upon further review, LEDs Magazine realized that the pragmatically-named UV-C LED Disinfection Light is essentially the same 265-nm UV-C LED Disinfection Light that Targus introduced at last year’s CES, where it said the product would hit retail shelves in March 2021.

March came and went, as did all the other months between then and now, with the lamp nowhere in sight. Now, with February just around the corner, it looks as though it will soon finally reach the company’s e-commerce website and its resellers — a mere 13 months after the original launch.

One might ask, “What happened?”

The more fitting question, however, would be “What didn’t happen?” And the answer is that Targus did not receive UL certification for the lamp until recently. UL is a Northbrook, IL-based organization, generally known as Underwriters Laboratories, that looks after consumer product safety and performance certifications.

The crux of Targus’ CES announcement was that UL has now given the seal of approval. But the announcement essentially served as a relaunch of the UV-C lamp, given the long delay. The re-emergence this year of the annual CES as a live exhibition in Las Vegas versus last years online rendition added to the sense of a new product kickoff. CES ran Jan. 3–5.

“The UL certification just happened at the end of the year, and the team wanted to ensure it met those standards before shipping it out,” a spokesperson for Anaheim, CA-based Targus told LEDs.

We don’t know the details of why it took until now for Northbrook, IL-based UL to issue its UL 962 imprimatur, or of what, if any, re-engineering Targus undertook.

UL 962 is the safety group’s North American standard for household and commercial furnishings. It verifies that products meet electrical, flammability, and personal injury safety requirements.

In the case of UV-C, one can’t be too careful. The UV-C band is harmful to humans when in direct contact with skin and eyes. So products that use it must be designed to either completely shield people from the radiation, or to switch off when movement is sensed nearby.

Targus’ UV-C Disinfection Light sits over a keyboard and switches on automatically for five minutes every hour. It gives off a visible purple hue to alert people that it is emitting the ultraviolet radiation, which is itself invisible (thus the word “light” is something of a misnomer).

Related article: Acuity Brands achieves UL certification for far UV-C germicidal module

The automated, touch-free on-switch is one of the safety measures, which, as Targus explains, also include motion sensors. “If any motion is detected within the safety zone or directly outside of the active cleaning area, the UV-C LED will be automatically disabled,” the company said. “After five minutes of inactivity, the light will then attempt to resume the disinfection cycle.”

Targus did not specifically name SARS-CoV-2 as a target of the system.

“Designed to stand on your desktop, the UV-C LED Disinfection Light's AC-powered light turns on and runs for 5 minutes, every hour, to break down the DNA of microorganisms, effectively eliminating up to 99% of pathogens on device surfaces within the active disinfection area beneath the light,” it said.

The company set a price tag of $299.99.

LEDs has asked the company to identify the LED supplier. We will provide that information when we receive it.

MARK HALPER is a contributing editor for LEDs Magazine, and an energy, technology, and business journalist ([email protected]).

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About the Author

Mark Halper | Contributing Editor, LEDs Magazine, and Business/Energy/Technology Journalist

Mark Halper is a freelance business, technology, and science journalist who covers everything from media moguls to subatomic particles. Halper has written from locations around the world for TIME Magazine, Fortune, Forbes, the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Guardian, CBS, Wired, and many others. A US citizen living in Britain, he cut his journalism teeth cutting and pasting copy for an English-language daily newspaper in Mexico City. Halper has a BA in history from Cornell University.