A new player in the war on germs

April 11th, 2014 Category: Educational Establishments

A hospital in Los Angeles has combined the Jetson’s robotic maid Rosie with Robocop to create a machine that monitors the halls, zapping germs as it goes.

The robot – affectionately named Miss Violet – was created to help reduce the number of people that die from infections they have contracted while staying in hospitals. In the US, this figure is an astonishing 300 per day.

Rapides Regional Medical Centre (RRMC), in Alexandria, Los Angeles, decided that they wanted to tackle this issue using modern technology. The five-foot-two-inch germ-killing machine is able to detect and destroy pathogens invisible to the human eye.

Rachael Sparks, technical director of Xenex Disinfection Services, the device’s manufacturer, told “We all do our best job to keep our hospitals clean and disinfected.

“But we can’t see everything. Of course, we clean the rooms the best we can, but we know there are contaminants left behind. This removes contaminants so the room is as clean and safe as possible for the next patient.”

Instead of Robocop’s giant gun or Rosie the robot maid’s feather duster, Miss Violet is equipped with technology that can emit ultraviolet rays that are 25,000 times more intense than the sun. 

Her powerful beams can destroy germs that are on areas that are touched by doctors and patients regularly and on hard to reach surfaces that normal disinfectants fail to sanitise. The ultraviolet rays penetrate the cell walls of pathogens, fusing their DNA so they can no longer replicate or mutate. This whole process takes just minutes, and before you know it Miss Violet is off again on her hunt for rogue bacteria.

Diane Fulton, chief nursing officer at RRMC, believes the new addition to the hospital workforce will completely remodel how they clean.

She said: “Miss Violet is going to take our cleaning to a whole other level. Of course, the hospital does everything we can to prevent infections, but Miss Violet will ensure any bacteria left behind will be killed.”

You might not have your own germ destroying robot, but you can still help out. Good hand washing practice is an easy way to keep bacteria at bay. If you’re visiting a sick friend or relative at the hospital, always make sure you use the anti-bacterial hand gel to avoid passing on harmful pathogens to people vulnerable to infection.