This robot quickly disinfects spaces using UV-C light


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This robot helps keep areas like warehouses clean. 


Alyssa Pierson/CSAIL

Disinfecting spaces such as warehouses is especially critical during the COVID-19 pandemic, but doing so while keeping workers safe can be challenging. So MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory came up with a solution: use a robot that employs UV-C light to disinfect surfaces and neutralize aerosolized forms of coronavirus. 

Through a collaboration with Ava Robotics and the Greater Boston Food Bank, CSAIL mounted a custom UV-C lamp on an Ava Robotics mobile robot base. The lamp neutralizes around 90% of surface microorganisms, according to CSAIL. The robot is initially operated by a remote user and subsequently works autonomously, and can disinfect 4,000 square feet of warehouse space in half an hour. 

The robot works when people aren’t around, which is good given that UV-C light, though effective at killing viruses and bacteria on surfaces and aerosols, isn’t safe for human exposure. Virus-killing light machines have also been used to disinfect airplanes and hospitals

Researchers say the robot could someday be used in other places such as schools and grocery stores. 


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