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Q&A: Robot Developed At Bradley Could Revolutionize Room Sanitizing

A ultraviolet robot under development in Peoria could be an affordable and safe sanitation option for hospitals, offices, and other indoor spaces.

Tim Shelley spoke with Suruz Miah, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Bradley University, about his concept.

SM: The main function of this robot is to disinfect areas such as hospitals, offices, for example, classrooms. And also this robot can be deployed where human beings are in danger. Okay, so the main function is to disinfect areas, that's the main function of this robot that we are expecting.

TS: How does it work, exactly?

Suruz Miah from Bradley University.
Suruz Miah from Bradley University.

SM: Okay, so it is completely autonomous. It's (an) autonomous robot. There will be an UV light mounted on top of the robot. And also, this robot is mounted with some sort of spraying machine, so that it can spray vertically and horizontally as well. And disinfect areas by spreading UV light.

TS: And can you describe it a little bit? I mean, how big is it? I'm kind of picturing like a Roomba here, almost.

SM: Yeah, basically you can think of it just like a Roomba robot that you can see, but its height is about a foot, about 2 foot height. And the most important thing is that it is modular. For example, you can just take off UV light, and you can just put it back. And it doesn't have to be completely intact. It is modular, that's what I'm trying to say.

TS: How did you come up with this idea?

SM: Actually, I was talking to my friend, (Dr. Keshtkar), at St. John's University, and we're in a meeting with some doctors as well. So we were talking about this sort of robots. And then, since I work in the field of robotics, I took the initiative to actually design this robot. So the design is still under investigation.

TS: So about how far in the process are you? I mean, do you have a you have a timeline for when we might actually see this come out?

SM: Yeah. So I have set up a timeline, about a year. So I'm thinking of having this robot fully functional in about a year from now.

TS: Now, I understand you're looking to also incorporate students into into this process, if you could talk a little bit about that.

SM: Actually, there are two students currently working on this project. So these students will keep working on this project to make it fully functional. And also, this robots require quite a bit of time for us to make the changes, for example.

And also there are some other hardware that needs to be incorporated. And it will take a bit of time, actually, but the initial timeline is about a year that we are planning to have this robot fully functional.

TS: How much is this robot expected to cost?

SM: We are thinking of having this robot cost less than $1,000. There are many robots available in the market that cost you like $4,000 to $10,000. Depending on the features, there are sophisticated, there are fancy robots available in the market. But the main purpose of this robot is to make it affordable to everybody and cost please. We are planning to have it less than $1,000.

TS: And what are some of the advantages to this robot in terms of having having a robot go in and clean a cleaning office or clean a hotel room or, or whatever the environment might be, as opposed to, you know, having people do it?

SM: Yeah, so the main net advantages of this robot is, is modular, modular in the sense that you can actually just, it just works like a plug-in, it is supposed to work just like a plug and play architecture.

Okay, for example, UV light like even like, you can just take it off and then the robot can then put it back on different types of UV light, you can put it so we are thinking of making it completely modular. And the other advantage is that, since I'm talking about modular a lot, so this robot would be able to add up itself to some environment where it needs to spread vertically, and also horizontally.

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