Siemens Partners to Rapidly Develop Intelligent Disinfecting Robot in Response to COVID-19 NeedsMarch 30, 2020 by Sophia Valente
In the midst of COVID-19 rapidly shifting industry priorities, many companies are altering their agendas to accommodate the need for innovative medical technology.
In some cases, this involves collaboration between corporations to ensure efficient design and output of much-needed technologies, such is the case in the development of an intelligent disinfectant robot co-established by Siemens and Aucma in China.
The Importance of Sanitation
Across the globe, hospitals and medical staff are struggling to accommodate the acute need for unprecedented capacity. This includes staff, equipment like beds and ventilators, and protective gear. Given the contagious nature of COVID-19, it is important that hygiene and disinfection are highly prioritized.
Yu Qi, Head of Siemens China’s Research Group for Advanced Manufacturing Automation, realized that this was a technological niche where his team may contribute to virus control.
Qi works at a lab for robotic applications co-established by his parent company, Siemens, and Aucma. The joint laboratory, announced in late 2017, was developed so Siemans could “provide technical expertise in hardware, software and mechanical design for the joint laboratory and help Aucma set up a new intelligent manufacturing business sector.”
Siemens and Aucma Collaborate
The collaboration was envisioned as an “innovation ecosystem” of intelligent manufacturing. Under ordinary conditions, the lab’s main applications are the development of special robots, unmanned vehicles, industrial robots, and intelligent equipment.
However, given the extraordinary contemporary conditions, Qi leveraged the engineers in the lab to come together to develop an intelligent disinfection robot.
A photo from the announcement of the joint lab. Image used courtesy of Siemens.
Remarkably, the team of 10 was able to push the robot from design to sample production in a week, while working remotely. The design differs from standard disinfection robot prototypes; conventionally, they utilize a combination of a petrol-based mistorizer gun and an electric chassis.
Given current risks, relying on a model that required on-site refueling of petrol for functionality is not a hygienic or efficient option. Citing those risks, the task force decided to develop a completely electric disinfection robot to optimize usability in medical facilities.
Between February 7th and February 15th, the team drafted the product, tested, and built to completion the new intelligent disinfection robot. The final product is a lithium battery-powered and boasts double mistorizer guns that can disinfect between 20,000 and 36,000 square meters per hour.
Siemens Robot With Omnidirectional Vision Platform
The top of the robot hosts an omnidirectional vision platform that provides real-time video and information updates to operators. In addition, the device’s intelligent vision algorithm enables users to “remotely locate affected areas and prevent the spread of infectious diseases at low cost.”
The intelligent disinfection robot’s design and final product, all completed within 1 week. Image used courtesy of Siemens.
Taking into account the potential need for the device to be utilized on a variety of surfaces and slopes, the engineering team opted for a caterpillar chassis instead of standard wheels for a full range of optimized movement.
The recently developed robots have been submitted for national patents, and will soon be distributed to high-need hospitals.
Looking forward, the disinfectant robots will have applications in schools, offices, industrial manufacturing sites, and other public places where restoration of life-post virus will require protective disinfectant measures.
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