Ever heard of LIDAR and SLAM technology? They allow this semi-autonomous robot to protect frontline COVID-19 heroes to protect everyone else!

Surfaces contaminated with viruses pose a grave threat to the safety of healthcare workers, patients, frontline responders and the general public, especially when business has resumed and workplaces have reopened.

Deactivating the COVID-19 virus on surfaces is a critical and necessary step to protect and disinfect, as well as to reduce the extent of reinfection that is seen in some countries. Robots and cobots have already been put on duty to perform such tasks to make it unnecessary for humans to manually perform such hazardous operations.

Recently, one novel robot has been developed to offer even more flexibility in disinfection functions. India-based healthcare technology firm Invento Robotics has developed it to navigate semi-autonomously in any environment using Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) and Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) technology. This allows the operator to control it from up to 30 meters away via a mobile application.

The C-Astra robot has six ultraviolet (UV) lamps that disinfect surfaces of 99% of pathogens, including the COVID-19 virus. This removes the need for cleaners to be in contact with any surfaces, thereby reducing their risk of getting infected. The use of a Human In The Loop (HTIL) system enables operators to remotely-assist the unit if it gets stuck, and to monitor the unit for safety.

The unit can run up to six hours continuously on a rechargeable battery pack, which takes four hours to charge. Furthermore, through a novel fleet management system, individual units can be monitored around the hospital, office or retail location and this can facilitate data collection and management done remotely by professionals.

According to Roy Poh, Product Manager & Product Specialist, Omni-Health, an importer of the C-Astra in Singapore: “UV was traditionally used in operating rooms for its germicidal properties. Recently, there has been success in the deployment of UV lights in Wuhan in fighting against COVID-19, which has also gained traction in Italy. Many of these disinfection units are either stationary or moved by humans, which limits the area of operations, or poses health risks for the operators. Hence, the idea was further improved into an autonomous, mobile unit that can move around lobbies and hallways get into rooms to kill majority of the bacteria and viruses.”

C-Astra robot have been used in several hospitals in India, including the Appolo Hospital in Chennai.