Organic dirt on touch surfaces can be biological contaminants (microbes) or nutrients for those but is often invisible by the human eye causing challenges for evaluating the need for cleaning. Using hyperspectral scanning algorithm, touch surface cleanliness monitoring by optical imaging was studied in a real-life hospital environment. As the highlight, a human eye invisible stain from a dirty chair armrest was revealed manually with algorithms including threshold levels for intensity and clustering analysis with two excitation lights (green and red) and one bandpass filter (wavelength λ = 500 nm). The same result was confirmed by automatic k-means clustering analysis from the entire dirty data of visible light (red, green and blue) and filters 420 to 720 nm with 20 nm increments. Overall, the collected touch surface samples (N = 156) indicated the need for cleaning in some locations by the high culturable bacteria and adenosine triphosphate counts despite the lack of visible dirt. Examples of such locations were toilet door lock knobs and busy registration desk armchairs. Thus, the studied optical imaging system utilizing the safe visible light area shows a promising method for touch surface cleanliness evaluation in real-life environments.
- environmental monitoring
- health-care associated infections
- infection control
- optical imaging