Researchers from MIT have developed a new way to keep shared spaces free of the coronavirus and other pathogens: a UVC light-equipped robot. UVC light is capable of disinfecting surfaces and neutralizing aerosolized virus particles, but it’s dangerous for humans to be exposed. With this in mind, MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) teamed up with Ava Robotics to develop a robot that can travel through and disinfect spaces autonomously.
The partners added a custom UVC light fixture designed by CSAIL to Ava Robotics’ mobile robot base. They deployed the prototype at the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB). The robot drove through GBFB’s warehouse at about 0.22 miles per hour. At this speed, it could cover about 4,000 square feet (the entire warehouse) in half an hour and neutralize approximately 90 percent of coronavirus particles on surfaces.