Mobile disinfection robots for medical environments

Automated cleaning systems can provide valuable support in coping with the strict hygiene and safety regulations associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. Earlier this year, we have showcased nine disinfection robots used to fight the coronavirus. 2020 surely boosted the development for mobile disinfection systems and so we continue our presentation. The following additional seven robotic systems are either currently being deployed or developed.

Report: Sascha Keutel

Aitheon

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Source: Aitheon

The Aitheon Yezhik UVD is used as part of a regular cleaning cycle preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases, bacteria, viral, and other types of harmful organic microorganisms by breaking down their DNA-structure. 

The robots have inbuilt sensors around the perimeter that will analyze their surroundings allowing the robots to avoid obstacles and change route if needed without interruption to the robot's tasks.

One of the Aitheon robots distinctive features is its unique modular design that allows users to adjust the robot for various purposes simply by switching the changeable accessories: the Spray Disinfection Attachment disinfects with hydrogen peroxide vapor treatment. 

It generates a cloud of extremely small droplets of a disinfectant liquid reaching inaccessible areas. The main advantage of spray compared to UV-C Mercury lamps is a wider disinfection area. Another option is the Pulsed Xenon ultraviolet light (PX-UV) disinfection. Pulsed Xenon lamps produce an ash of germicidal light across the entire disinfecting spectrum, which is delivered in millisecond pulses with five meters radius.

BlueBotics and Engmotion

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Source: BlueBotics

BlueBotics and Engmotion have developed a mini UVC that combines the reliability and fleet management capabilities of BlueBotics’ mobile robot and navigation technologies with Engmotion’s powerful Steril-ONE UVC disinfection lamp.

The robot can be used alone or in a connected fleet to disinfect hospitals and other public buildings. The solution can be operated 100 per cent autonomously, semi-autonomously (if staff need to open doors), or manually via a wired controller. The robot features safety laser scanners at the front and rear of the robot that allow it to detect obstacles and people when in transit. 

A high-sensitivity movement sensor on top automatically shuts down UVC operations if a human is detected. If an operator needs to disinfect an area more quickly, disinfect a larger site, or clean multiple areas at the same time, the robot’s Autonomous Navigation Technology (ANT) server software enables it to create a full fleet of connected mini UVC robots.

Dimer UVC Innovation

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Source: Dimer UVC Innovation

The UVHammer was developed by a surgeon dedicated to decreasing infections in his own patients by eliminating pathogens in operating rooms, recovery rooms, and hospital rooms.

Traditional vertical UVC designs aren’t well equipped to disinfect horizontal surfaces. The UVHammer was designed to combat this critical issue that hinders current UVC solutions. The patented variable-angle lamp technology allows the UVHammer to disinfect high touch surfaces at any orientation or position with high doses of germ-killing UVC light.

The UVHammer is cordless with approx. 70 minutes of lights-on time per charge and designed for seamless battery hot-swapping to support hours of continuous operation. It also eliminates the need for disposable waste (bottles, wipes, canisters, etc.), with each battery rated for a 3,000 cycle lifetime.


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Sherpa Mobile Robotics

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Source: Sherpa Mobile Robotics

Sherpa Mobile Robotics (SMR), a company in NORCAN's innovation division, has partnered with Devea to develop a mobile, autonomous robotic disinfection system. The Devea system, known as Phileas, sprays the disinfectant with its centrifugation technology in perfectly calibrated micro-droplets with a size of 5 to 10 µm. The robot is equipped with a spray device that generates a dry spray mist that reaches all types of surfaces - even inner surfaces of drawers. 

Since it is a dry virucide, it leaves no residue and poses no risk of corrosion or damage to surfaces and devices. 

The device for airborne surface disinfection complies with the standard NFT 27-281. The virucide based on hydrogen peroxide has received market approval, which guarantees the effectiveness of the system for 99.99 percent of viruses.

Metralabs GmbH

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Source: Metralabs GmbH

STERYBOT uses UV disinfection lamps with concentrated germicidal UV-C light. The ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) eliminates up to 99.99% of all viruses and bacteria – sensitive surfaces and medical equipment remain unaffected. The robot is operated completely autonomously in hospitals and medical centers. 

Integrated functional safety and navigation software optimized over thousands of miles ensure a reliable localization and the avoidance of people and obstacles. The stainless-steel housing with an antimicrobial coating prevents the transmission of germs by the robot itself.

The robot installation can also be carried out by the user himself. Just use your phone to configure areas to be disinfected and operating times. When the job is done, STERYBOT returns to its charging station and is ready for the next run after 2-3 hours.

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

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Source: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

In an interdisciplinary collaboration, scientists from The Grainger College of Engineering at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign's Health Care Engineering Systems Center have developed the UVBot: a robot that can be built out of easily accessible objects and programmed to clean spaces using UV light.

The UVBot is made from a Roomba robot, UV lamp, and 3D printed parts. 

The robot can autonomously plan its path or be controlled remotely on a smartphone. It can be controlled by a mobile app over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and programmed to autonomously clean many different types of spaces. It even has the ability to record and create a library of rooms. 

The UVBot promises 99% virus inactivation. The required exposure time and distance for inactivation was systematically tested using an RNA virus similar to COVID-19: the Tulane virus.


Fraunhofer IPA

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Source: Rainer Bez/Fraunhofer IPA

The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA has developed “DeKonBot”, a prototype of a mobile cleaning and disinfection robot in a short time. It is an automation solution that independently cleans and disinfects potentially contaminated areas such as door handles, light switches, or elevator buttons. 

DeKonBot cleans relevant surfaces in a targeted and direct manner and does not spray the disinfectant over large areas in the room like some other robots. Therefore it can be used safely in the presence of people.

In order for DeKonBot to work successfully, it is initially trained in its new operating environment with the help of a tablet that can be operated without expert robotics knowledge. A 3D sensor recognizes the objects to be cleaned and their position in the room better than other sensors available on the market, even if these objects have a metallic, reflective surface.


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