UVD Robots, a subsidiary of Blue Ocean Robotics, are able to disinfect patient rooms and operating theaters in hospitals. The robots consist of a mobile base equipped with multiple lidar sensors and an array of powerful short wavelength ultraviolet-C (UVC) lights.
The operators deploy the robot using a computer. The robot scans the environment using its lidars and creates a digital map. The operator can then annotate the map indicating all the rooms and points the robot should not disinfect. After that, the robot relies on simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) to navigate.
The robot then drives autonomously around hospitals while emitting 20 joules per square meter per second (at 1-meter distance) of 254-nanometer light to eliminate bacteria and other harmful microorganisms. As a result, hospitals can guarantee a 99.99 percent disinfection rate – reducing the risk for patients, staff and relatives of contracting dangerous infections.
In May 2020, Frost & Sullivan awarded Blue Ocean Robotics the Best Practice Award for „2020 European Professional Service Robots Product Leadership“ for their virus-killing UVD robots. In 2019, the company received an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award in Robotics and Automation (IERA).
Xenex Disinfection Services
San Antonio-based Xenex Disinfection Services LLC makes full-spectrum UV Germ-Zapping Robots to eliminate harmful bacteria, viruses and spores that can cause healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).
Unlike most single spectrum low-intensity UV (UVGI) devices, Xenex’ LightStrike uses a xenon lamp to generate bursts of high intensity, full germicidal spectrum (200-315 nanometers) UVC light that is more intense than sunlight. According to the company, its robot is the only pulsed xenon UV device of its kind, while other companies manufacture mercury UV devices.
Studies, published in nearly three dozen different peer-reviewed journals, have shown reductions of 53 to 100 percent of infections acquired in hospitals. In a recent test, performed at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, the LightStrike robot destroyed SARS-CoV-2 in two minutes achieving a four-log (99.99 percent) reduction in that time.
Shanghai’s TMI Robotics has developed a robot that moves completely autonomously, fulfilling the task as pre-programmed with the layout and topography of the hospital or department. It will set off systematically disinfecting nearby air and all surfaces in any given area, and even return itself to a docking station when it requires a recharge.
The robot integrates three disinfection modes: ultraviolet, ultra-dry vaporized hydrogen peroxide, and air filtration to meet the demanding disinfection requirements in the healthcare sector. UV alone, at the optimal distance, can achieve 99.99 percent bacterial kill - including antibiotic-resistant bacteria and viruses. When combined with air-filtration, it forms a highly effective method of disinfecting and cleansing the surrounding air, in addition to achieving surface disinfection of surrounding walls, furniture and fixings.
Any combination of these methods can be applied depending on the space or departmental rooms to be disinfected. The robot also automatically calculates the disinfection time according to the space and fixings and ensures no ‘dead spots’.
Researchers from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore), have developed a semi-autonomous robot that can disinfect large surfaces quickly. XDBOT, or ‘eXtreme Disinfection roBOT’, can be wirelessly controlled via a laptop or tablet. That removes the need for cleaners to be in contact with surfaces, thereby reducing the risk of picking up the virus from potentially contaminated areas.
XDBOT can navigate semi-autonomously in any environment using LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) and high-definition cameras, while its arm is controlled by a human operator – like a tank with a rotating turret. Currently, the operator can control the robot from up to 30 meters using a laptop/tablet, which can be increased to 50 meters or further with more antennas installed on XDBOT.
Rather than a conventional pressure-spray nozzle, it uses an electrostatic-charged nozzle to ensure a wider and further spread of the disinfectant, behind and over hidden surfaces. Unlike typical nozzles, XDBOT’s nozzle discharges chemicals with a positive electrical charge. These disinfectants will then be attracted to all negatively-charged surfaces. Surfaces already covered with the disinfectant will then repel the spray, making this method very efficient. This concept of charge attraction is similar to how positive and negative poles of magnets are drawn to each other.
Memphis-based Tru-D SmartUVC (Total Room Ultraviolet Disinfection) robot stands 5-feet-6-inches tall and uses ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UV) to disinfect porous and non-porous surfaces without toxic chemicals. Its automated, remote-controlled mobile disinfection system uses UV light that is capable to kill up to 99.9 percent of harmful pathogens. The high energy from UV light is absorbed in the cellular RNA and DNA of microorganisms, damaging nucleic acids and preventing them from reproducing; therefore, they cannot survive or infect humans.
Its Sensor360 allows the system to automatically calculate the pathogen-lethal UV dose required for each room and dynamically compensate for size, shape and other dose-changing variables such as the position of contents, windows, blinds and doors.
During the disinfection cycle, Tru-D’s microprocessors and instrument-grade sensors measure the necessary amount of UVC energy that is reflected back to the robot to destroy pathogens throughout an entire room from one position.
In November 2019, PDI acquired majority share of Tru-D SmartUVC.
THE HELIOS UV disinfection and sterilization robot kills germs in the environment by decomposing their DNA structures thus preventing and reducing the spread of viruses, bacteria and other harmful microorganisms.
The robot has two working modes:
For the first mode, air circulating sterilization and disinfection, the robot is equipped with high-power UV lamps. Air flows into the UV sterilization channel through the purification and circulation system. The robot is capable of killing microorganisms in the air, such as fungi, bacteria, and viruses, and has significant effects on harmful microorganisms in aerosols and the like. At the same time, PM2.5, formaldehyde, TOVC and other harmful substances in the air can be eliminated due to HEPA filtration.
For the second mode, UV sterilization and disinfection, the robot is turned on in an unmanned state through infrared induction, and the sterilization and disinfection center will emit the condensed UV beams to kill bacteria and other harmful microorganisms, which prevents cross infection in high-risk areas and purifies the air.
In addition, the robot features autonomous operation and realizes timed, fixed-point and multi-track mobile disinfection and sterilization in a large space, according to the preset route and time requirements. It reduces the investment in human resources and helps promote the working efficiency and quality.
The following seven robotic systems are either currently being deployed or developed for the fight against the coronavirus.
Siemens / Aucma
Engineers at Siemens and Aucma Co. Ltd have developed an intelligent disinfection robot to battle against the coronavirus and other viruses in hospitals. Most disinfection robots combine a petrol-driven moisturizer gun with an electric chassis. However, on-site refueling of robots is neither clean nor convenient. The team therefore decided to develop purely electric disinfection robots to better cater to the needs of hospitals. Powered by a lithium battery, the robot can disinfect up to 36,000 square meters in one hour.
To make the robots operate easily on various road surfaces, the team adopted a caterpillar chassis instead of wheels to improve their ability to surmount obstacles surmounting and climb slopes. A 360-degree camera platform on the top transmits videos and information in real time, coupled with an intelligent vision algorithm that allows the operator to remotely locate affected areas and prevent the spread of infectious diseases at low cost.
Finsen Technologies is a British Company specializing in the design and manufacture of UV-C hospital disinfection products. Its THOR UVC is a high-output UV disinfection robot uses an unique mapping technology to deliver a fast and effective germicidal dose of continuous wave UVC energy killing germs and pathogens.
THOR UVC works on the principles of the Inverse Square Law and delivers more UVC power output over a longer distance, killing more germs in the quickest time.
The robot can be adjusted for any height between 1.1 and 2.25 meters, covering floor to ceiling and eliminating shadows, for more thorough disinfection. Its ergonomic handrail and unique 6 caster wheel design make it easy to move from room to room for fast and efficient room turnaround.
Akara Robotics Ltd.
Akara is a Trinity College spinout based in Dublin, Ireland. Its disinfection to bot called ‘Violet’ is an ultraviolet light robot, which is clinically proven to kill viruses, bacteria and harmful germs.
The robot leverages more than 12 months research in UV light disinfection technology, conducted at Ireland’s top University. The HSE (Irish Health Service) have fast-tracked its development, stating that it has great potential to help in the fight against Covid-19.
Violet can greatly reduce dependency on the use of chemical-based solutions, which may be effective but require rooms to be vacated for several hours during sterilization, making them impractical for many parts of the hospital. In addition, many pieces of high-tech equipment cannot be disinfected using “deep chemicals”, so manual cleaning is needed.