uvd robots

Canada just got its first-ever UV disinfection robot for hospitals

Anyone who owns a dishwasher, a Roomba, or even one of those automated air freshener spray pod things can attest to the effectiveness of robotic cleaning devices in the home — but can robots be trusted to disinfect germ-laden hospitals rife with vulnerable patients?

I mean, they're already used in operating rooms to help doctors perform heart surgery, so probably. Either way, we're about to find out.

Researchers are currently testing a brand new and fully autonomous " UV-Disinfection robot" at Montreal's McGill University Health Centre (MUHC).

The first of its kind in Canada, the bot is programmed to move around the facility emitting concentrated UV-C ultraviolet light onto what MUHC calls "infectious hotspots."

The concentrated light works to break down the DNA structures of bacteria, vira and other types of harmful organic microoganisms, according to scientists, preventing the spread of infectious disease within sensitive healthcare settings.

"While UV-C is already known to kill microorganisms on surfaces and in the air, the novelty of this technology is the robotics, which allows it to be fully autonomous and mobile," reads a news release from The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre.

"This robot could potentially reduce healthcare-associated infections and their consequences, including health complications, deaths and extra costs."

While new to Canada, this type of technology has been steadily gaining in popularity over the past few months elsewhere — specifically in Asia, Europe and the U.S. amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. Military has reportedly been experimenting with what some have dubbed "corona-killing robots": autonomous machines equipped with concentrated UV lamps to kill dangerous microorganisms on bases.

An "autonomous mobile anti-rotation robot" that uses UV light to disinfect surfaces has similarly been developed by the Korea Robot Convergence Research Institute (KIRO) and Pohang University of Science and Technology.

"We ordered this robot as the COVID-19 pandemic was emerging in China and Europe, with the objective to be first to evaluate this technology in Canada," said RI-MUHC's Dr. Bruce Mazer of the Canadian trial.

The new tool, manufactured by a Danish company called UVD Robots, arrived to the Montreal hospital on Monday, April 27 and is currently being tested in one patient room and one operating room.

"An automated system can potentially improve patient safety, as well as protect hospital personnel," says Mazer.

"We will also take this opportunity to assess if it can be used to disinfect stretchers and N-95 masks."

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