The Santa Barbara Independent profiles Eli Harris ’15 as a co-founder of R-Zero, a company whose relatively inexpensive, movable lamp shines ultraviolet rays to kill 99.99 percent of nearby microorganisms. The lamp, called the R-Zero Arc, is now being used in restaurants, hotels, classrooms and other spaces around the country to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The article describes Harris’s path from his youth in Santa Barbara, Calif., to enrolling at Amherst with the intention of entering the foreign service, to winning a Fulbright scholarship at the U.S. Embassy in China, to becoming an entrepreneur. Harris created, but later sold his shares in, a lithium ion battery company called EcoFlow.
The article also explains the development of the R-Zero Arc lamps; the legal and economic factors at play in pricing and selling germicidal lamps; and their potential for use in businesses, schools and hospitals to combat not only COVID but also influenza, food poisoning and other germ-related public health threats. It includes photos and quotes from Santa Barbara-area establishments that are already using or planning to use Arc lamps.