Danish company UVD Robots developed autonomous mobile robots outfitted with powerful ultraviolet lights that destroy microbes. The robots roam hospitals pausing at pre-determine points to fire up their disinfecting beams. According to UVD, they've shipped hundreds of robots to China in recent weeks as they rush to meet the demand from more than 2,000 medical facilities in that country alone. From Evan Ackerman's story in IEEE Spectrum:
…Each robot is a mobile array of powerful short wavelength ultraviolet-C (UVC) lights that emit enough energy to literally shred the DNA or RNA of any microorganisms that have the misfortune of being exposed to them….
It takes between 10 and 15 minutes to disinfect a typical room, with the robot spending 1 or 2 minutes in five or six different positions around the room to maximize the number of surfaces that it disinfects. The robot's UV array emits 20 joules per square meter per second (at 1 meter distance) of 254-nanometer light, which will utterly wreck 99.99 percent of germs in just a few minutes without the robot having to do anything more complicated than just sit there. The process is more consistent than a human cleaning since the robot follows the same path each time, and its autonomy means that human staff can be freed up to do more interesting tasks, like interacting with patients….
Hundreds of these robots are at work in more than 40 countries, and they've recently completed hospital trials in Florida. Over the next few weeks, they'll be tested at other medical facilities around the United States, and Nielsen points out that they could be useful in schools, cruise ships, or any other relatively structured spaces.