Virus-busting innovations take centre stage at virtual CES 2021

Now that we’re privy to fun facts such as knowing our favourite things can harbour more nasties than a toilet seat, steering clear of germ-ridden surfaces has understandably rocketed up the priority list.

Starting at the front door, Plott’s Ettie Doorbell (£220, available later this year) uses an infrared sensor to take a discreet temperature check upon a visitor’s arrival.

It also features the usual companion app to see who’s waiting on your doorstep and will send you a smartphone alert to let you know whether it’s safe for them to enter.’s Touchless Video Doorbell (price and availability tba) is also built for
the Covid era. Visitors trigger it by standing in a virtual zone defined by the homeowner, most likely to be the doormat. Perfect if you’re worried that contactless delivery policies aren’t doing the trick.

Door handles are also home to bacteria. Luckily, Swiss start-up CleanMotion has unveiled the first self-disinfecting doorknob (price and availability tba). It automatically wipes itself down after each use with a spongy, spring-loaded disinfectant-filled ring.

Finally, if there’s anything this global pandemic has taught us, it’s that stockpiling loo roll isn’t very neighbourly and that touching stuff isn’t the best for personal hygiene, especially in the bathroom. Kohler has a hands-free solution. Wave at the flush lever on its touchless toilet (£440, available March) for hands-free activation and it will intelligently flush itself so you don’t have to.

For ultimate loo luxury, you could stretch to its Innate intelligent toilet (from £2,260, available June). This will open and close the lid, as well as providing remote control, a heated seat and a built-in bidet.

Let there be (UV) light

Donald Trump infamously proposed beaming UV light ‘inside the body’ as a way to combat Covid. While that was idiotic advice, when used correctly UV light can have virus-busting powers. At home, LG’s flashy InstaView refrigerator (price
and availability tba) gets a pandemic-inspired upgrade.

Using UVnano technology to sanitise your H2O as it’s dispensed, it obliterates up to 99.9 per cent of bacteria on the nozzle.

Equally, if you’re worried about any nasties lurking on your keyboard and mouse, the Targus UV-C LED Disinfection Light (price tba, available March) beams ultraviolet rays at regular intervals on to anything in its path. As UV rays are potentially harmful, it will only do so when its motion sensors detect you’re away.

Also reducing human exposure to harmful bacteria are surface-sanitising robots such as LG’s autonomous CLOi (right).

Emitting UV light and using AI to move around obstacles, this disinfecting droid obediently cleans rooms in schools, hotels, restaurants and other public spaces, and is a brilliant example of how regularly touched surfaces can be sanitised with minimum human intervention.

Clear the air

There was a time, not too long ago, when devices like personal air purifiers were met with amusement and derision. Now we’re more sensitised to the air we’re inhaling, brands are showing off systems with more mobile and creative approaches to eliminating airborne nasties.

This puts devices such as LG’s PuriCare Mini Air Purifier (£128, firmly in the spotlight. About the size of a chunky TV remote, this device cleans the air around you wherever you go with the help of a fourstep filtration and lighting system, and in-app air quality monitoring.

An alternative travel companion for those who may be more at risk of getting Covid is Luftqi’s palm-sized Luft Duo (£200,, which promises clean air on demand using a combination of replaceable and washable filters, UV light and patented photocatalytic technology to pluck pathogens, pollen, dust and other impurities from the air.

While conventional air purifiers can’t solve the problem of infection by themselves, they can reduce the threat by eliminating aerosol particles, which can take hours to settle, from the air.

Take the voice-controlled Sensibo Pure (£94.74, It backs up its claim to be ‘the world’s most advanced smart air purifier’ by using a range of Hepa and carbon filters to eliminate particles and offer protection from viruses, bacteria, dust and smoke. It can also cleverly change operation based on factors such as indoor air quality, outside pollution and the number of people in the house.

Alternatively, Airthings’ Wave Plus and Wave Mini sensors (£239 and £69, can track the risk factors associated with viral transmission, such as carbon dioxide levels, humidity and temperature, and provide mould-risk alerts, which could ultimately help identify whether any adjustments need to be implemented to make the room less hospitable to virus particles.

Wear it well

One of the most talked-about devices so far this year is a wearable solution for monitoring Covid-19 symptoms. The BioIntelliSense BioButton (price and availability tba) is an on-body sensor about the size of a 10p coin that can be discreetly worn underneath clothing to continuously monitor its wearer via an

With the promise of near-hospitalgrade accuracy to detect signs of Covid, it’s designed to be worn for up to 90 days for continuous monitoring while tracking your respiratory rate, heart rate and temperature – and subsequently providing you with a daily ‘bio-report’.

Wearables aimed at Covid prevention come at a time when access to doctors is limited and the public is much more vigilant about health.

Great news, then, that NeuTigers, an artificial intelligence company made up of Princeton University professors, is currently testing CovidDeep, a rapid-screening app that communicates with a wearable device strapped to your wrist and claims 90 per cent accuracy in predicting Covid-19.

The technology gets to work by measuring skin response, temperature, heart interbeat interval and blood pressure, alongside blood oxygen saturation levels.

Each biomarker can be impacted by Covid-19 and used to predict whether a person has the virus before they even feel unwell. It’s currently being adapted to work with wearables from the likes of Fitbit and Apple.

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on purchases made through one of these links but this never influences our experts’ opinions. Products are tested and reviewed independently of commercial initiatives.

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