• A UV-blasting robot can disinfect entire rooms and deactivate coronavirus on surfaces.
  • The robots are built by a company in Texas, and are available to hospitals and clinics that need rapid disinfection.
  • The bots aren’t available to consumers, but they may spawn a new demand for such machines designed specifically for at-home use.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has impacted most industries in a negative way. Downtime is bad for business, of course, and a lot of companies have been forced to deal with at least some level of slowdown or even complete closures. The flip side of the coin is that the pandemic has actually sparked a need for new services that were previously not widely sought-after.

A company called Xenex is now offering the services of its LightStrike robots to disinfect large areas using the power of UV light. The service, called StrikeForce (you gotta love these names) claims to be able to rid services of active coronavirus within two minutes. That’s a pretty impressive claim, and Xenex also boasts that when used in a hospital or clinic setting, it can reduce infection rates of bacteria and other microbes by up to half.

The robots use a xenon lamp to fire intense energy at exposed surfaces. It’s well-known that light within a certain spectrum can kill viruses and bacteria, and the LightStrike robots are designed to cover a wide band of the light spectrum in order to attack as many different viruses and bacteria as possible.

“It is the only technology with an extensive range of germicidal UV (200-315 nm) that includes both UV-B (280-315nm) and UV-C (200-280nm),” the company explains. “This extended range delivers a germicidal intensity that penetrates the cell walls of microorganisms and causes irreparable damage. That’s what makes our high-Intensity Pulsed Xenon ultraviolet light so extremely fast and effective at reducing microbial load.”

So, put simply it damages the germs to the point where they are no longer a threat for infection. That’s a pretty big deal since the viral load on surfaces is a key factor in how likely a person might be to contracting an infection after touching or being near that surface.

The company claims it’s already been proven to kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is the nasty little germ that causes COVID-19. That means it’s already in high demand. So, what’s the bad news? Well, Xenex is a small company, and while they’re based out of the United States — San Antonio, Texas, to be exact — their services are only available within their home state, and even then, it appears to be geared toward clinics and hospitals rather than consumers.

Still, the fact that these robots exist means that there may be a market for smaller, cheaper versions that could be rented out or even bought by consumers to keep their homes virus-free.

Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech. Most recently, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has been featured in USA Today, Time.com, and countless other web and print outlets. His love of reporting is second only to his gaming addiction.