Updated on 28 November 2014
Robots reduce the risk of infection for a physician and hence can be effectively used in outbreaks
Singapore: With the Ebola battle seeming endlessly long, the US military has planned to introduce robots into the fight. The new germ killing weapon is a four-wheeled robot that can disinfect a room in minutes with pulses of ultraviolet light.
The robots resemble a taller, but skinnier version of Star Wars and are already operating at three military medical centers and about 250 other American hospitals are using the machines to destroy pathogens. The robots use xenon, a non-toxic gas, to create the ultraviolet rays that eradicate germs faster and more thoroughly than any human cleaning crew, doctors and officials said.
Mr Alton Dunham, a spokesman for Langley Air Force Base, which acquired one of the robots in October, said,"The robot is currently a part of our Ebola mitigation strategy, but will be used across the hospital to combat a variety of other pathogens known to cause hospital-acquired infections."
Contrary to the conventional UV rays, these robots use environment-friendly xenon. The mercury bulbs that emit UV rays are slow and toxic to the environment. Scientists and experts are now increasingly recommending the use of robots to haul contaminated waste or enable health workers to remotely interview patients.
Mr Robin Murphy, a professor of computer science and engineering at Texas A&M University, said, "Robots could be immediately utilized to protect Ebola health workers. Robots reduce the risk of infection for a physician and hence can be effectively used in outbreaks."
Many experts said that robots can be increasing used in hospital settings and pharma companies for disinfection as the robot light can disinfect surfaces and hidden areas that even the most diligent human cleaner cannot reach. "The robot is able to eliminate the risk of human error," said Melinda Hart, a spokeswoman for the robot company.