New Robots Can Clean Virus-laden Surfaces so People Won’t Have To

Sakina Lakda
June 11, 2021

A robotic dog-like machine called DINGO that can disinfect germs has been developed in the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. This machine uses ultraviolet light at certain wavelengths which shines from the sides and bottom. It also has a mobile neck which can twist and turn to access surfaces such as the top of chairs, desks and furniture. Tests are being done to explore its use in helping to halt the spread of diseases and pandemics.

Food for Thought

What are the benefits of using robots?


Robots remove the risk of human error, as they can be controlled or automated. They can repeat the same task over and over to a high standard, without feeling frustrated or bored. They can also do this efficiently, without experiencing fatigue. Using robots also removes the risk to cleaners as this technology could be used to clean potentially deadly germs. Can you think of the disadvantages of using robots to clean surfaces? Why might this technology have been useful during the Covid-19 pandemic? 


What could this type of technology mean for the future of healthcare?‍


DINGO and similar robots across the globe could introduce a new wave of smarter, more nimble — and potentially more thorough — cleaning robots. They may have a role to play in stopping the spread of infectious diseases, such as Covid-19. However, robots may have a role in healthcare beyond cleaning. Can you think of other areas of healthcare where robots or AI can replace the need for humans? What would this mean for healthcare professionals? If AI is the way forward, will healthcare lose a bit of humanity?


Practice Interview QUestions
  1. The use of robots in surgery is increasing as technology progresses. Can you think of other examples in medicine where robots may be utilised more frequently in the future? Weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of using robots in medicine.
  2. Why is research important in medicine? Discuss some pioneering breakthroughs in medicine over the last 30 years?


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