In a mix of inventions battling the spread of COVID-19 across the world, Irish scientists have developed an autonomous drone that uses UV light to sterilize surfaces in public areas and reduce the transmission of COVID-19
The innovative invention collaborates the efficiency of a drone with that of a UV sterilizing the machine that can clean surfaces in public places of any microbes.
Developed by researchers at NUI Galway’s Health Innovation via Engineering (HIVE) lab, the drones are meant to prevent the surge of COVID-19 cases again in a second wave.
The drone or the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is named @UVCDrone. The simple application of a drone to sterilise surfaces can be employed across a range of public areas including hospital wards, restaurants, trains, shopping centres, and airport terminals.
In a NUI press release, Dr Kevin Johnson, from the University of Limerick said, “COVID19 is a public health emergency and @UVCDrone is another important tool to help us defeat it.”
UV Light Disinfecting Drone Mechanism
UV light is known to kill microbes and its application for this purpose has skyrocketed since the COVID-19 pandemic. Spread across a range of 10nm to 400 nm, the invisible light is divided into three bands: UVA, UVB, and UVC.
The @UVCDrone uses the UVC (100-280nm) spectrum that involves radiation of high frequency and short wavelength. The light is able to kill the genetic material of microorganisms, thus preventing their spread.
It should be noted that the UVC light is marginally harmful to some parts of the human body. This is wherein the drone comes in handy. Powered through a software code to guide it, @UVCDrone can be programmed to operate at night, or any other time when human presence in the area is not expected.
COVID-19 Disinfecting Technology
@UVCDrone is an autonomous drone that finds its way around an are through an AI algorithm. Once it does its duty of emitting UVC light on surfaces, it lands back in its dock for recharging.
Professor Derek O’Keeffe, Professor of Medical Device Technology at NUI Galway and Consultant Physician University Hospital Galway explains, “We need innovative solutions to fight COVID-19 and our @UVCDrone solution allows the delivery of sterilizing ultraviolet light to a wide variety of public space landscapes from staircases to shop floors.”
The same team has been previously responsible for creating a drone that is able to deliver insulin to remote locations. With such use cases of drones, it might not be long till researchers find an even more innovative use for it.
Source : Indiatimes