Around the world, hundreds of engineers, scientists and software developers are working to build an army of robots on a brave mission to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
According to the report on the website of the Wall Street Journal on April 4, some robots carry irradiators that allow the surface of objects to be bathed in invisible radiation, while others have enough autonomy to safely coexist with humans while disinfecting the ground day and night. Others can screen fever personnel and urge people to wear masks, There are even robots spraying antibacterial aerosols in outdoor spaces.
Importantly, many of these robots have been used to enter certain environments before humans, which can not only prevent patients and medical staff from being infected, but also prevent the front-line cleaners from being infected.
At Cincinnati / North Kentucky International Airport, there are few passengers, but since the beginning of 2020, an autonomous robot has been patrolling the terminals around the clock. The Neo robot of avid robot company weighs 1050 pounds (476 kg) when it is fully loaded, but it can work safely around humans because of its artificial intelligence and a large number of cameras and other sensing devices. Although 20 such robots have been put into use at Changi Airport in Singapore, one of the busiest airports in the world, this robot at Cincinnati / North Kentucky International Airport is the first in an airport in the United States.
Brian Cobb, the airport’s chief Innovation Officer, said Neo could disinfect, not just clean, because it could mop the floor with the disinfectant solution in one jar and squeeze the dirty water into another jar for later disposal.
Benjamin Tanner, CEO of the micro chemistry laboratory headquartered in Austin, Texas, said that another method of disinfection with robots has been supported by decades of research, that is, disinfection with high-intensity ultraviolet lights in indoor space. The laboratory is responsible for testing the antibacterial technology registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
For many years, the hospital has been using high-frequency short wave ultraviolet lamp (an ultraviolet lamp harmful to human body and capable of killing microorganisms) to disinfect the room. When this lamp is in use, no one can be in the room. A group of short wave ultraviolet lamps can disinfect a room in 10 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the power of the bulb. Tanner says the advantage of these systems is that they can reach many surfaces that cleaners tend to ignore.
Jenny Lee, an investor in Arvid’s robotic company, said COVID-19 has attracted much attention in robotics and automation.
One challenge for this new “clean technology” market is that none of these robots may prove cost-effective compared to less fancy solutions. Cleaning hard surfaces strewn with viruses – such as door handles and elevator buttons – still requires a degree of flexibility and mobility that only humans have. However, Ms. Li believes that enterprises will continue to develop robots with smaller size and greater autonomy.
Another concern is that a lot of research is still needed on the effectiveness of all these technologies. Tanner of the micro chemistry laboratory said that in particular, ultraviolet lamp systems differ greatly in effectiveness and are rarely regulated. He added: “there are manufacturers who never do any tests themselves, and buyers should be a little more careful in the UV lamp market.” some companies have used research to show that their systems are very effective, not only in killing bacteria, but also actually reducing the infection rate in hospitals.