NUI Galway and UL scientists develop drone to join Covid-19 effort

NUI Galway
Image: NUIG

Researchers develop platform to deliver sterilising ultraviolet light from above

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8 June 2020 | 0

NUI Galway and University of Limerick scientists have developed a drone platform to deliver sterilising ultraviolet light to disinfect public surfaces in a bid to reduce transmission of Covid-19 and other microbial threats.  

Amid the current pandemic, there is great need for a solution to sanitise the wide terrain variety of public places. To combat this issue, researchers at NUI Galway’s Health Innovation via Engineering (HIVE) Lab developed @UVCDrone, which sterilise surfaces using ultraviolet (UV) light.

UV light is not visible to the human eye and is divided into three bands UVA, UVB and UVC. The @UVCDrone uses UVC to destroy the genetic material of microorganisms, preventing them from reproducing and thereby providing the ability to sterilise surfaces.

 

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As UVC light is harmful to humans, the @UVCDrone delivers the UVC light when the public space is unoccupied. The drone is programmed to switch on at a pre-defined time, autonomously fly around the public space using a bespoke AI algorithm and when finished cleaning, land again for recharging.

The project is led by NUI Galway’s Prof Derek and Dr Ted Vaughan, with Dr Kevin Johnson from the University of Limerick.

“We need innovative solutions to fight Covid-19 and our @UVCDrone solution allows the delivery of sterilising ultraviolet light to a wide variety of public space landscapes from staircases to shop floors,” said Prof Derek O’Keeffe, professor of medical device technology at NUI Galway and consultant physician, University Hospital Galway.

Dr Kevin Johnson of University of Limerick added: “Covid-19 is a public health emergency and @UVCDrone is another important tool to help us defeat it.”

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