Intelligent Mobile Robots for UVC based Disinfection

Principal Investigator: Professor Ning XI (Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering)

This project is showcased in the inaugural exhibition – Engineering for Better Living in Innovation Wing Two

Project information


Current surface disinfection methods include spraying chemicals or using UV light. However, it is difficult to directly spray liquid chemicals on surfaces due to the threat of negative environmental impacts and possible damage and contamination to various surfaces such as books and food packages. Currently, UV based disinfection lights are either wall mounted or operate on mobile bases. Moreover, they are often positioned metres away from surfaces that require disinfection.

Novelty of the Project

The disinfection robot was developed based on the results of multi—year R&D on automatic robot programming, autonomous navigation and obstacle avoidance, sensor—based robot control, and novel drives and structures. It also provides a convenient and cost-effective solution to fight against the pandemic.

In order to achieve effective disinfection within a short period of time, studies have shown that UV light must be centimetres away from a surface as its strength decays significantly when being transmitted through the air. In response to this issue, the UV based surface disinfection robot can disinfect selected areas by bringing the UV light source centimetres away from surfaces to achieve effective and efficient disinfection within seconds. Additionally, the robot can autonomously navigate in crowded areas such as hotels lobbies, gyms, and libraries to conduct disinfection.

Benefit to the Community

COVID-19 has been devastating on a global scale, and therefore preventing its spread is an essential step towards suppressing the virus. Many studies show that people can become infected easily by coming into contact with contaminated surfaces. Moreover, the COVID-19 virus can be viable for a number of days on many surfaces including plastic, stainless steel, and paper. This has proven to be a major challenge for public facilities such as public libraries, restrooms, sports arenas, and transport facilities. Hence, it is essential for surfaces often used by the public to be decontaminated effectively. The technologies developed in this project have wide applications such as painting in constructions, surface treatment and inspection in manufacturing and maintenance, and cleaning in property management.

About the Scholar

Professor Xi is the Chair Professor of Robotics and Automation in Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering. His research interests focus on robotics, manufacturing automation, micro/nano manufacturing, nano sensors and devices, and intelligent control and systems.

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Achievement of the Project
  • Testing trials at Public Library with Electrical and Mechanical Services Department.
  • Pending Patent: Disinfection Robots.
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