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Robot cleaner roams halls of hospital

Posted on: Saturday, May 31st, 2014

At Palos Community Hospital, Chicago, a five-foot robot with a fondness for cleaning is roaming the halls looking for germs to destroy, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The machine- the TRU-D SmartUVC – was recruited back in March to keep the isolation rooms and operating theatres hygienically clean. It has the ability to detect contamination using built-in sensors. 

Once the robot has set its sights on any rogue bacteria it emits an ultraviolet (UV) ray, at the necessary strength, to destroy any villainous elements it sees, including viruses and spores. It can also disinfect equipment, making it even safer to use.

Anne Myron , a nurse who heads the Infection Control Department at the Palos Heights hospital, told the Chicago Tribune: "Some of the organisms are drug-resistant and many antibiotics don't work to kill Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection or C. difficile. The way it kills the bacteria and viruses is it disrupts the DNA and prevents them from reproducing."

The machine spends between 15 minutes to an hour cleaning each room it visits. Staff are able to operate it with an iPad from outside, as nobody is able to be near the robot when it is cleaning because of the UV rays it emits. As a safeguard, if the door opens the TRU-D SmartUVC shuts down temporarily.

Ms Myron added: "We're always striving to provide safe, quality care to our patients and we want to prevent the spread of infections and provide a safe, clean environment.”

Palos Community Hospital isn’t the only place to enlist the help of robots to keep the rooms hygienically clean, as the Rapides Regional Medical Centre in Los Angeles have employed their very own germ-zapping machine.

Miss Violet is a five-foot-two-inch bacteria destroying device that can emit UV rays that are 25,000 times more powerful than the sun. Using this beam, she patrols the halls cleaning hard to reach surfaces that normal sanitising solutions are unable to kill.

Obviously, not everybody can buy a germ-killing robot to follow them around, but washing your hands regularly and using disinfectants when needed will help to keep you happy and healthy in day-to-day life.