Many folks have Roomba Robot vacuum cleaners that go around the house sensing dirt and vacuuming it away. Now hospitals around the world are using autonomous robots to travel around disinfecting hospital rooms and operating theaters — a dull, dirty and dangerous task for humans.
They’re manufactured by UVD Robots in Denmark and work by sending a powerful array of short wavelength ultraviolet-C lights that emit enough energy to shred the DNA or RNA of any microorganism in their path.
According to IEEE Spectrum, an award-winning robotics blog, it takes between 10 and 15 minutes to disinfect a typical room, with the robot spending one or two minutes in five or six positions around the room for maximum disinfection. It’s UV array zaps 99.99 of germs in just a few minutes, freeing up hospital care workers for more patient interaction.
Originally, the robots were invented to stop the spread of hospital acquired infections by preventing these infections in the first place. But when the coronavirus crisis hit, UVD Robots CEO Per Juul Nielsen saw a huge, global market for his product.
“That’s why there is a big need for our robots all over the world,” he tells IEEE Spectrum. “They can be used to fight the coronavirus, and for fighting all of the other infections that are still there.”
The robots cost between $80,000 to $90,000 which Nielsen says is relatively inexpensive for a piece of medical equipment that can lifesaving. Hundreds of robots are already at work in over 40 countries and they’ve recently completed clinic trials in Florida. Nielsen says they will be tested in other U.S. facilities over the next few weeks and adds that his robots could also be useful for schools, cruise ships or any other structured space.
In the meantime, researchers at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore are testing a semi-automatic disinfectant robot that can be controlled remotely and shoots a powerful disinfectant spray over surfaces, according to Mashable.
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