LG Electronics is working on an autonomous robot that uses ultraviolet light to disinfect what the South Korean technology giant describes as “high-touch areas and heavy traffic.”
In an announcement this week, LG said it will look to introduce technology to retail customers, education, hospitality and US companies from early next year.
In a statement, Roh Kyu-chan, who heads the robot’s business division at LG Business Solutions Company, said: “This standalone UV robot comes at a time when hygiene is a top priority for hotel guests, students and restaurant customers ”.
“A higher level of hygiene will be expected of customers in the contactless ecosystem we face now,” Roh continued.
According to LG, its robot will use UV-C light. There are three main types of UV radiation: UV-A, UV-B and UV-C.
The US Food and Drug Administration described the latter as a “disinfectant known for air, water and non-porous surfaces”.
Regarding the current pandemic, the FDA notes that there are currently “limited published data on the wavelength, dose and duration of UVC radiation required to inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”
For many people around the world, concerns about cleanliness and hygiene have increased due to the coronavirus pandemic. There is also debate in the scientific community about the risk of transmission from inanimate objects.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says on its website, “It is possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes.” .
However, it is added: “Spreading on the areas to be touched is not considered to be a common way to spread COVID-19”. The most common way the virus spreads is through close contact between people, according to the CDC.
LG Electronics is one of the many important organizations and companies that develop technology focused on UV-C as a disinfectant.
In October, Transport for London announced that more than 200 devices using ultraviolet light for surface sanitation would be installed on the entire London Underground train network.
TfL said the technology will be implemented on the railings of 110 escalators over a period of several weeks.
According to the transport body, the device uses a “small dynamo” to produce energy from the movement of the railing, which in turn supplies the UV bulb used to sanitize its surface.
Elsewhere, Signify – a major player in the lighting industry – now offers what it describes as a “desk lamp” for sale in some Asian countries. The “lamp” can be used to disinfect rooms in houses.
Look, no hands
While some are turning to UV light in an attempt to alleviate concerns about cross-contamination and the spread of the virus, others are looking to launch systems that could change the way we physically interact with public spaces.
Even before the pandemic, motion-activated taps and toilets began to be launched in busy transportation hubs, such as train stations and airports.
Taking into account the bathroom theme, earlier this month, GEZE UK, which specializes in door, window and safety technology, said it had developed what it described as a “hands-free toilet door set”.
The system, which uses sensors and is based on “touch-free activation”, can be connected to the common external door of a public toilet.
This, says the company, ensures “that those who leave the toilet should not touch the door after washing their hands.”