Image: Screenshot from MIT Youtube.

Robot uses UV-C light to disinfect surfaces against Covid-19

CAPE TOWN- A team of scientists and engineers from the United States have created a robot that uses powerful ultraviolet C light or UV-C to disinfect surfaces that may be contaminated with Covid-19 and neutralise up to 90 percent of surface microorganisms.

UV-C light is effective in killing viruses and bacteria on surfaces, but it’s unsafe for humans to be exposed to this type of light. 

A team of experts from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Ava Robotics and the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) created the robot to disinfect large warehouses when people are not present. 

A custom UV-C light fixture is attached to the Ava Robotics mobile robot base and can be teleoperated to disinfect over 1 square kilometers in 30 minutes. 

The team reported that the results were encouraging enough to be useful for autonomous UV disinfection in other environments, such as factories, restaurants, and supermarkets.

The light fixture sets off short-wavelength ultraviolet light to kill microorganisms and disrupt their DNA in a process called ultraviolet germicidal irradiation.

MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) research scientist and technical lead of the UV-C lamp assembly, Alyssa Pierson said that the robot would be useful in food banks as it is an essential service to various communities. 

In an article published on MIT News Pierson said, “there was a unique opportunity to provide additional disinfecting power to their current workflow, and help reduce the risks of Covid-19 exposure.” 

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