The coronavirus outbreak has put everyone on a hygiene alert. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has outlined basic protective measures: Wash hands frequently, maintain social distancing, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and practice good respiratory hygiene.
But what are the best practices if you are sharing immersive technology day-in, day-out?
As any VR user knows, sweat and heat can quickly build up when you’re wearing a headset which can lead to an unhygienic environment. Add to this that headsets and controllers are often shared amongst friends, colleagues—or with the public at events—and you have a situation that would turn germaphobes green.
Whether your tech looks dirty or clean is irrelevant. If an infected person sneezed and a droplet landed on a headset, a person who handles that headset in the same place could pick it up. A study of other coronaviruses found they remained on metal, glass, and plastic for two hours to nine days.
Wiping down the headset after each use is a basic requirement, but there are other measures that can be taken. Here are a few of my top tips for ensuring your equipment is kept as clean as possible.
Wash Your Hands
If you are handling your own tech or using someone else’s, one of the simplest ways of keeping the kit clean is having clean hands. If someone is using your devices, ask them to wash their hands before making contact with your tech. Your hands are one of the main routes that viruses make their way from surfaces to your respiratory system, so keeping them clean is important. Follow these guidelines from WHO on hand washing.
If you can’t get to a sink, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer will do the job. Luckily, the coronavirus has an envelope structure which alcohol can attack (unlike norovirus and rhinovirus which alcohol gels don’t kill).