Rise of the machines: Now they can zap germs too!

November 18th, 2013 Category: Building Management

When a young inventor won an award recently for his futuristic idea that we will one day see a team of flying robot cleaners completing all of the tasks in our homes and offices for us, sceptics would have been forgiven for thinking it was a bit far-fetched as a concept.

However, the dream may not seem such a heady one, after an American hospital revealed that technology has evolved to allow robots to zap germs.

Until now, the roaming machines have been stuck with the very important task of vacuuming floors, with more and more people around the globe purchasing them for this purpose.

But now University Hospital in San Antonio, Texas, has taken the cover of its latest germ-busting bot. 

The as-of-yet-unnamed robot is said to kill germs on surfaces that are left contaminated after normal cleaning processes. Some 50 per cent of hospital worktops, beds and other equipment are not 100 per cent clean after they have been cleaned by standard practices, the hospital reports.

According to Rachel Sparks of Xenex, the company that has built this latest cleaning technology, it is way more effective than bleach and 20 times better than manual cleaning methods.

"The UV light is absorbed by the DNA of bacteria and viruses causing them to die," she went on to add.

It may be a while until the robot sees any sort of mainstream penetration, however. While its vacuuming cousin's falling pricetag has seen it enter homes, offices and schools in recent years, the germ buster will start life with a cost of $125,000 (£77,600 approximately).

However, University Hospital Epidemiologist Dr Jason Bowling said it will be well worth its hefty price.

"Unfortunately we currently live in an era of incredibly resistant organisms," he said.

"What we're hoping by acquiring these machines is to reduce that risk and again reduce that risk of healthcare associated infections for our patients."