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Robots exterminate germs at Illinois hospitals23rd of July 2013
Mini robots nicknamed Little Joe and Ralph are helping to improve healthcare hygiene in two hospitals in the US.
The three-foot upright cylindrical robots use their rotating heads to exterminate germs in an action reminiscent of the daleks in the UK children's TV series Doctor Who.
'Ralph' is being used by housekeeping staff at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital and 'little Joe' is in use at Loyola University Medical Centre, both in Illinois. They are employed for sterilisation purposes after the hospital rooms have been cleaned by staff.
Ultraviolet rays from the robot's rotating telescopic head pulses for 15 minutes, destroying harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi and bacterial spores without any human contact and without requiring the use of chemicals.
"Research show that the robots are effective at killing 99.9 per cent of common bacterial, viruses and pathogens including the majority of the superbugs out there," said Alexander Tomich of Loyola University. The robots are claimed to eliminate clostridium difficile in less than four minutes and MRSA in less than two minutes.
Besides hospital wards, Little Joe and Ralph are also being used to disinfect operating theatres and isolation, burns and transplant units. Hospital rooms need to be closed and unoccupied while the robots disinfect them.