Coronavirus robots developed to disinfect hospital rooms using light beams

Coronavirus robots developed to disinfect hospital rooms using light beams

Odense, Denmark’s third-largest city, is home to a thriving robotics industry. Based here is UVD Robots, a company with the objective of global commercialising robotic based UV Disinfection solutions for hospitals.

The company has created a self-driving machine that can navigate itself around a room as it kills microbes with zaps of ultraviolet light.

Eight vertical bulbs emit concentrated UV-C ultraviolet light which destroys bacteria, viruses and other harmful microbes by damaging their DNA and RNA, so they can’t multiply.

Nobody can be in the same room during the deep cleaning process as the rays are hazardous to humans. However, the robot can complete a whole room in between 10-20 minutes, leaving behind just a smell that has been compared to burned hair.

The robot was launched in early 2019, following six years of collaboration between parent firm, Blue Ocean Robotics and Odense University Hospital where Prof Kolmos has overseen infection control.

Each robot costs $67,000 (£53,370) each and has been designed to reduce the likelihood of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). Although the robot’s effectiveness hasn’t been directly tested against coronavirus, the company’s chief executive, Per Juul Nielsen, is confident that it works.

“Coronavirus is very similar to other viruses like Mers and Sars. And we know that they are being killed by UV-C light,” he says.

Commenting on the globe’s demand for their products, Nielsen said: “We had been growing the business at quite a high pace – but the coronavirus has kind of rocketed the demand,”

He says “truckloads” of robots have been shipped to China, in particular Wuhan. Sales elsewhere in Asia and Europe are also up.

“Italy has been showing a very strong demand,” adds Mr Nielsen. “They really are in a desperate situation. Of course, we want to help them.”

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