The UV light robots keeping COVID-19 at bay
July 16, 2020 - Heathrow Airport in the UK is deploying virus-killing ultraviolet light cleaning robots in a bid to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission.
Ultraviolet (UV) light cleaning robots are starting to appear in hospitals, hotels, offices, gymnasiums and airports around the world, including London’s Heathrow.
Danish firm UVD Robotics is the first to bring such technology to market with its $70,000 UV Disinfection Robot, an autonomous wheeled device which can be summoned to an area by staff using a smartphone app, and instructed to disinfect a room using its vertical column of UV lights.
UV light is a form of electromagnetic radiation invisible to the human eye. A subtype of UV is short-wave ultraviolet C (UVC) which can be used as a germicidal irradiator, that is to say, kill bacteria and viruses such as COVID-19 by disrupting their DNA.
UVC is harmful to humans and animals as it can cause skin and eye damage. To ensure safety, the robots are instructed to operate at night or in areas devoid of people.
Similarly, Kone, a Finnish elevator and escalator firm, uses a UVD light for escalator and travelator handrails. Hidden in the floor as the moving handrail belt travels along unseen, the light disinfects the rubber before it travels back up onto the barrier, to be touched by people again.
Such emerging innovations are not cheap, but radical new technologies are being seen more and more as a necessary way to deal with the pandemic.
- Robots deployed to kill viruses at Heathrow Airport at night (Bloomberg)
- The radical technologies to keep offices clear of coronavirus (Financial Times)
- Reduce hospital acquired infections with the UV Disinfection Robot (UVD Robotics)
- Handrail steriliser for escalators and power walks (Kone)
- Ultraviolet light (Wikipedia)
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