The White Plains Examiner

Bacteria Zapping Robots Move In at White Plains Hospital

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In the latest show of futuristic technology, White Plains Hospital recently unveiled robots that it is using to pulverize potentially lethal germs in its rooms. 

Germ ZappingRobotIn introducing the space-aged R2-D2 look-a-likes, White Plains Hospital becomes one of the first hospitals in Westchester County to tap into a technology that uses ultraviolet light to destroy bacteria, viruses, mold and other pathogens.

Affectionately named “Sparkle” and “R2 Clean2” by hospital staff, these portable disinfection systems – manufactured by Texas-based Xenex Disinfection Systems – have been proven to be 20 times more effective in cleaning rooms than standard chemical cleaning alone. The devises destroy major microorganisms and “superbugs” that cause serious and sometimes lethal illnesses.

It is estimated that infections acquired in hospitals are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and cost hospitals more than $30 billion a year. Treating a single MRSA infection, for example, costs approximately $23,000. Conversely, it has been estimated that using these robotic disinfection systems cost less than $3 per room per treatment cycle.

Here’s how it works: The robot emits germ-killing ultraviolet light, so within a 5 to 10 minute cleaning cycle, the light destroys viruses, bacteria and bacterial spores. The light penetrates the cell walls of bacteria, viruses, mold, fungus and spores, causing the pathogens’ DNA to fuse instantly, rendering them unable to reproduce or mutate. Without contact or chemicals, the robot kills harmful microorganisms safely and effectively.

The robot is always operated in an unoccupied room. While brief exposure to the light is not a threat to people, there are embedded safety features such as a motion detection system that shuts down the robot when movement is detected in the room. There’s also an emergency stop button that provides an immediate shutdown should anyone need to reenter the room. The Xenex device contains no mercury or hydrogen peroxide and is the only “green” technology used in automated room disinfection.

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