US Virus-killing robot zaps airport viruses as pandemic travel picks up

17:05  25 november  2020
17:05  25 november  2020 Source:   washingtonpost.com

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A virus - killing robot that can patrol empty aisles between flights, zapping out ultra-violet light, makes a Employees that tidy up enter the plane after the robotic deep cleaning, keeping them safe. “Despite what’s happened over the last 90 days or so, we really believe that travel is a necessary part

Demand has surged for robots equipped with powerful ultraviolet lights that can kill viruses . While there's been no specific testing to prove the robot 's effectiveness against coronavirus, Mr Nielsen is "Coronavirus is very similar to other viruses like Mers and Sars. And we know that they are being

The coronavirus pandemic has ushered in an era of distinctive travel experiences for those going against expert guidance to stay at home ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

a store inside of a building: LightStrike is a UV robot that is a proven killer of the novel coronavirus. © Bryan Glazer/AP LightStrike is a UV robot that is a proven killer of the novel coronavirus.

Not only are airlines mandating that passengers wear masks throughout flights, but mid-outbreak travelers are also facing innovative gadgets meant to combat the coronavirus, though the efficacy of some is questionable, according to epidemiologists. Some airports, such as Los Angeles International, have installed thermal imaging cameras to scan for fever symptoms, while airlines such as United have installed touchless kiosks, enabling passengers to keep their hands clean while checking in.

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How Robots Help Fight Against The Coronavirus Pandemic Today, we turn to And as scientists diligently work on a virus , disinfecting robots like UVD are being deployed all around the world And there are a handful of Robotics companies working hard to keep up with the demand for UVD robots .

Akara Robotics device clinically proven to kill viruses and bacteria. The start- up was spun out of TCD’s Robotics & Innovation Lab, which is best known for creating Stevie, a social robot making friends with carers and older people in residential care settings.

As air travel gains some steam and coronavirus-related shutdowns return in pockets of the country, one of the latest iterations of virus-fighting tech at the airport is a germ-zapping robot at San Antonio International Airport in Texas. It’s called LightStrike, and other airports are considering whether to invest in the $125,000 device that has been shown to be effective against the coronavirus. Some airports are watching to see whether travel improves over the coming weeks, according to officials at Xenex, the company behind the device.

“When you bring something like SARS-CoV-2 into focus, institutions like hotels, airlines, professional sports teams, they’re looking for what’s best-in-class to kill it,” said Morris Miller, CEO of Xenex.

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Airports were packed, and travelers said people with symptoms or those diagnosed were not properly separated from the crowds. Passengers and news outlets tweeted images of massive crowds at major US airports not long after Trump's travel ban amid the coronavirus outbreak.

As part of a worldwide concern about the safety of traveling , Hong Kong International Airport is conducting a trial of procedures and facilities to eliminate viruses and bacteria on individuals and airport surfaces.

Xenex says that its robot business has increased 600 percent amid the pandemic. Most of the increase is related to the health-care industry, but the robot also has entered new markets such as hotels, professional sports facilities and police stations.

Initially developed for use in hospitals and recently picked up by a local school district in Texas, LightStrike is 43 inches tall, about the size of a wheelchair, and has to be pushed along by an operator to reach targeted areas.

The high-tech plug-in pushcart uses powerful bursts of UV light to combat viruses on surfaces within a seven-foot radius in each direction, according to Mark Stibich, an infectious-diseases epidemiologist and chief scientific officer at Xenex.

A LightStrike robot operates inside San Antonio International Airport. (Xenex) A LightStrike robot operates inside San Antonio International Airport. (Xenex)

Video: How Accurate Were These Home COVID-19 Test Kits? (Inside Edition)

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It's hoped the technology will help fight the coronavirus pandemic as well as other illnesses spread by contact with infected surfaces. The Ziekenhuis Geel hospital in Belgium is testing the UVD robot . It uses UV-C light to effectively kill microorganisms such as viruses , bacteria and spores and, also the

I picked up some tips along the way about what to pack how to stay away from germs at the airport and on the plane. But if you have to fly in the US as the virus continues to spread, here are 15 tips and tricks that will help you get through domestic flights during the coronavirus pandemic .

It’s been known for decades that UV radiation can destroy viruses by chemically altering their genetic material. However, different pathogens are susceptible to UV light at varying wavelengths. Many traditional UV devices use low-intensity mercury bulbs, which means they may take longer to kill organic material such as viruses. By contrast, LightStrike robots have a powerful xenon UV-C light source capable of damaging the DNA and RNA of viruses in a matter of minutes.

When plugged in, the machine stores up a charge and releases the UV light in quick, pulsating bursts that also happen to be gentler on surfaces than continuous UV rays generated by mercury, according to Xenex. The device is not safe for use on humans, and the company built in a motion sensor, so the robot automatically turns off if a person comes within a certain range.

In a test run at San Antonio-based Texas Biomedical Research Institute, the robot destroyed the coronavirus in two minutes. It has also been effective at obliterating some superbugs such as C. diff, a bacterium that causes severe diarrhea and is resistant to many disinfectants.

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To combat the coronavirus, which causes the disease covid-19, Xenex encourages operators to leave the UV-C light in reach of highly touched surfaces for at least two minutes to maximize efficiency. The surfaces are immediately safe to use and touch after the disinfecting cycle is complete. The number of cycles required to disinfect a room depends on the size of the space, the company says.

While robot cleaners can provide an additional layer of protection against spreading the virus, their value is questionable at airports, according to some epidemiologists. Sure, the technology represents a way of disinfecting surfaces such as handrails, kiosks, water fountains and bathrooms, but that’s not the primary way for the virus to travel. Also, disinfecting points of physical contact has little effect on circulating air that might transport respiratory illnesses, experts say.

Still, the devices may help the struggling travel industry motivate some people to start moving again.

“Surface transmission is one of the least likely ways that an individual would catch coronavirus,” said Mercedes Carnethon, professor of epidemiology at Northwestern University. “Perhaps robots are a measure that’s reassuring to individuals, but it’s not really going to have a large-scale impact.”

Hand-washing is still encouraged if you come in contact with highly touched or unclean surfaces, which may pose a small risk if you touch your face.

Despite innovative tech and the latest talk of possible vaccines, the U.S. air travel industry still has a long way to go to reach pre-coronavirus levels. In the seven days ending Nov. 17, air travel was down 63 percent compared to the same period last year. That represented a modest improvement over a 66 percent drop tallied a week earlier.

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