Irish Researchers Have Developed Hospital Robot That Uses UV Light to Kill Viruses, Bacteria, and Germs
Completely circumnavigating the problem of supply shortages of things like hand sanitizer, Akara Robotics, founded at Trinity College, Ireland, has developed a robot that emits ultraviolet irradiated light to kill viruses, bacteria, and other harmful germs from hospital floors and other surfaces.
Sweetly named Robot Violet, it is clinically proven to kill viruses—and can sanitize an entire hospital room in half the time it would take to do the same task using conventional “deep cleaning” approaches.
The long tubular light looks like one you might see in a warehouse or factory, but it floats around the room as if a Jedi lightsaber were mounted on a Roomba vacuum cleaner.
Violet’s powers come from UVC rays shot at very short wavelengths. These breakdown the DNA in microbes and stop them from being able to replicate and can arrest the spread of germs, ideally including COVID-19, though they are still awaiting test results for the now-infamous virus to see if the robot can officially be relied upon to remove it.
Many surfaces, especially those on various hospital equipment, need to be washed by hand. Inventor Connor McGinn says his robot would greatly enhance this cleaning process, allowing hospitals that are swamped with patients to clean rooms and equipment without any human being present.
“This system could reduce dependency on the use of chemical-based solutions, which may be effective but requires rooms to be vacated for several hours during sterilization, making them impractical for many parts of the hospital,” McGinn said on Twitter.
While UV rays are damaging to humans, so they cannot be used to sterilize hands or other areas of skin, an onboard AI system automatically shuts off Violet’s light if it detects that someone has moved in front of it.
The petite startup of only 7 people, hope to produce 50 units in the coming weeks—with their first robot possibly ready for duty by Easter.
Here’s an early demo of our robot, Violet. It uses UVC light, a clinically proven technology for killing viruses, bacteria and harmful germs. The robot has a range of safety features that allow it to be deployed in high-traffic areas where existing cleaning approaches fall short pic.twitter.com/ianDebIrbv
— Akara Robotics (@Akara_Robotics) March 17, 2020
If estimations about the upcoming COVID-19 curve are accurate, hospitals will need all the innovations like this—and this efficient new respirator invented by James Dyson—to help “flatten the curve” and prevent the spread of COVID-19 within hospital settings.
“We are very happy with the progress we are making,” McGinn told the Irish Times.
This is just one of many positive stories and updates that are coming out of the COVID-19 news coverage this week. For more uplifting coverage on the outbreaks, click here.
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