As spraying has become the norm in many places around the world, the robot uses ultraviolet lamps to disinfect not only surfaces, but also hard-to-reach crevices and even air.
According to Derrick Yap, whose company PBA Group developed the Sunburst UV Bot, the new pandemic of coronavirus made it possible to test a robot for a “dangerous, dull and dirty” role.
“It is dangerous because UVCs should not be deployed in the presence of humans,” he said, referring to the short-wave germicidal type of ultraviolet radiation.
“Dull – because you keep going to a place and keep doing a dirty, repeated task because of COVID-19,” he said.
UVC can be harmful to the skin and eyes, which is why the robot, which looks like a bunch of fluorescent lights standing on a mobile base, is tested by Frasers Property Retail after the mall closes.
But he’s programmed to turn off his UV lamps if he detects a nearby human.
Once its route has been fully traced, the robot should carry out its cleaning cycle independently and then recharge.
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Yap said he expects the coronavirus epidemic will prompt companies to reassess their workforce needs and use technology, including robots.
“In the future it will be very useful,” he said.
Only one Sunburst UV Bot has been tested, and Frasers plans to deploy more elsewhere in Singapore.
But they are not cheap, each costing $ 70,000 ($ 49,500). Some are rented to customers for S $ 3,000 ($ 2,121) per month and some will be donated to hospitals and isolation centers.