Nukit Torch Quality & Provenance
There’s been some speculation recently on social media about the quality and provenance of the Nukit Torch. Some of it is from companies using sock puppet accounts who are unhappy about the price point for obvious reasons; some of it is perfectly honest questions from people with valid concerns.
Far-UVC researchers Ewan Eadie, The OSLUV Project (Aaron Collins aka MaskNerd), and Don Milton all have Nukit Torch kits with no issues found that they made us aware of. The published test data from Ewan Eadie, along with UL, CE and FCC certifications are linked below.
Nukit Torch FCC Declaration of Conformity
At the time of this post, Ewan Eadie is testing and publishing the results of donated commercial Far-UVC products. Any company making claims about safety or performance that is unwilling to submit to rigorous third-party testing alongside competing products, and have those results published - as we have - can be judged accordingly.
It is common practice for factories in China to use stolen photos of existing products to generate leads, but ours is not one they have the molds or components for. Anyone who thinks the Torch is an OEM or “white label” product should certainly try to source and purchase them elsewhere; competition is healthy - quite literally so in the cost of Far-UVC.
Nukit Torch kits are not sold by middlemen and did not emerge overnight from tech founders with no previous experience with Far-UVC. They are the end result of a well documented research and development process. The process of advocating for Far-UVC, sourcing better filters, lower cost emitters, experimenting with different form factors, and addressing power issues has been a years long iterative engineering process that has been published by our founder, Naomi Wu starting in March 2020 at the begining of the pandemic:
I've been evaluating Far-UVC lamps with a grant from @VitalikButerin's Balvi Foundation. These are two 20w fixtures I 3D printed Makita battery adapters for today for people who are immune-compromised or others in high-risk situations, need to take their mask off to drink etc. pic.twitter.com/JLmK8I7BHi— Naomi Wu 机械妖姬 (@RealSexyCyborg) June 11, 2022
Easy hack that drastically improves the price/performance ratio of Far-UVC fixtures- PTFE reflectors🤓— Naomi Wu 机械妖姬 (@RealSexyCyborg) August 24, 2022
Stock aluminum reflector at 100mm:
1mm PTFE reflector at 100mm:
45° 122μW/cm2 pic.twitter.com/QaXWsctByN
My prototype consists of a small, well-filtered 3-watt 222nm UVC projector with a built-in battery that lasts for about 2-3 hours. It can be used either in very high-risk situations or only when the wearer briefly unmasks. The case is 3D-printed wood with a wax finish. pic.twitter.com/bewAApzsV5— Naomi Wu 机械妖姬 (@RealSexyCyborg) September 22, 2022
A paperback size portable Far-UVC proof of concept device I made a while back. Those little flat 15w emitters are very cool and quite powerful but they cost more than double what a regular excimer bulb that wattage does so aren't that practical. pic.twitter.com/YFdHUdByjB— Naomi Wu 机械妖姬 (@RealSexyCyborg) November 4, 2022
Rigged up a Far-UVC "miners lamp" based on @famulare_mike and @Don_Milton's idea. From the numbers we have at the moment, it's not sufficient to allow unmasking, but it might add a very margin of protection to meals while traveling when there is no option but to unmask. pic.twitter.com/p21PyxGCGQ— Naomi Wu 机械妖姬 (@RealSexyCyborg) December 22, 2022
Latest version of my Far-UVC Lunch Box. Filtered 60w emitter is designed to sit on the floor against a wall and bounce off the ceiling. Fans are silent @Noctua_at and set up in push/pull configuration for air mixing in the beam path and to cool the battery and emitter.— Naomi Wu 机械妖姬 (@RealSexyCyborg) May 22, 2023
So far my… pic.twitter.com/qOecYBUVSZ
While my @cnsyil is a fantastic CNC machine, CAM software is not. So a lot of the time it's faster to just do one of something on the manual mill. When I have to make a bunch of something, that's the kind of small-scale manufacturing it's ideally suited for. https://t.co/P3wyQGQNic pic.twitter.com/Qt4A37qqsO— Naomi Wu 机械妖姬 (@RealSexyCyborg) February 24, 2023
You will find few other companies in the space who are as public about both their Far-UVC personal use, and their development process.
When looking at the origin of a product, it's important to understand how most products come to market today. For example, if you want to have a dress or suit made, you don't go to a drapery store. You go to a tailor or seamstress, look at the quality of their work, examine the samples of styles they have made, see what they can do, and explain what you want based on that. In manufacturing, these are called reference units.
Similarly, if you want to make and sell your own earphones, you visit earphone factories- often dozens of them- and check and test their reference units. This gives you an idea of what they are capable of. You then work with the factory to modify that product to your specifications - either using their engineers, your own, or a combination. You can try to do this entirely online - some companies do - but if it's an unusual product with difficult-to-meet requirements, there’s really no substitute for being on the ground and able to fix problems in person, at the factory, as needed.
Because of Google Image Search, many companies these days choose to forgo technical changes and the costly engineering required, and instead making only design changes. They take the stock (often mediocre) factory internals of a reference unit and design a fancy new enclosure for their "new" product. For most companies, $20,000 to $100,000 for nice new injection molds offer greater returns on investment than the same spent money on engineering to make the product actually better- not just look different. Style over substance.
When sourcing the Nukit Torch, we started with a factory reference unit- as one does. From that, we determined that the factory could make something that was 70% of what we wanted. The ballast, excimer bulb, and filters were all sourced from alternative suppliers who offered higher quality, more reliable components to meet tighter safety tolerances. There’s nothing unusual about this- it’s like specifying a different neckline or bringing your tailor fabric bought from a specialist to use. It’s the nature of manufacturing in China. The trick was in working with those factories on novel ways to lower the cost of those components- this is the business of Shenzhen. 90% of the quality for 40% of the price, and of course this has been quite a challenge.
Making a $1000 iPhone has its own engineering challenges, making a $400 phone that’s 90% as good has different challenges. Remember the Model-T was innovative because it was affordable.
Far-UVC has tremendous potential as a public health measure- but it will never help the public if it continues to cost thousands of dollars per room. If you can afford the best of everything and money is no object, that’s wonderful, many people- particuarly our disabled and high-risk customers, cannot, but still need products that help them stay healthy. So, like the Model-T, our focus is on affordability. This can be quite tricky.
For example, we initially did not change the charging indicator lights the factory used on their reference model- which proved to have a high failure rate even after passing QC and so we had to mail out replacement units.
We briefly used a lower-cost cable supplier; their cables tested as high quality, but once ordered, they mixed a few Micro-USB cables in with USB-C cables- and of course, we frantically mailed replacements to everyone who had gotten the wrong cable. As the saying goes- hardware is hard.
One thing we did not do with the Torch was spend money on new molds - the reference unit's form factor was perfectly serviceable and the tooling practically brand new, so why spend $50,000 on new molds and drive up the final cost of the unit? So it keeps the original shape and internal layout - with higher quality internal components.
It would be very nice if we had a polished, existing product that we could just point to on Alibaba and dropship - but the safe ones are all expensive, too expensive for most people to afford.
The other problem is that if you don't have your own product with your own supply chain, it's just a matter of months or even weeks before the product you're selling is bought by Temu, Bangood, or others, in much larger quantities, at lower price, and therefore sold for less. They do not have it because they cannot - safe, filtered, low cost Far-UVC is not easy or it would be common.
Cost is something that legacy Far-UVC companies, enjoying massive profit margins and looking for enterprise contracts, have no incentive to work on. It's a bit of a feather in our cap that we've been able to maintain a much lower price point per filtered 222nm watt for so long (which is undoubtedly the reason for the current sour grapes and frantic disinformation campaigns on social media).
In short, if anyone thinks it's trivial to bring high quality, filtered, third-party tested, 222nm Far-UVC to market for 1/3 of the going rate, or that no one else has tried, feel free to do so and undercut us. Our work is focused on reducing the cost of Far-UVC as one of many IAQ tools- alongside filtration, monitoring and ventilation, so that clean air can become as ubiquitous as clean water. If anyone wants to "beat us" at that, we'd be delighted.
If you see misinformation posted about the Nukit Torch, please be so kind as to link to this page. We are focused on the R&D side of things and our margins don't really allow for much in the way of a marketing budget. Word of mouth - especially when it comes to countering misinformation campaigns - is greatly appreciated.