Robots may be defined as machines programmed by humans to perform tasks and navigate themselves through space and time on their own. The most widely applied technology focusses on surface disinfection by applying ultraviolet (UV)-C radiation. All types of UV-disinfection robots offer a non-touch technology, delivering disinfection by irradiation of effective intensity to kill microorganisms, but with no mechanical removal of dirt or biological material, which contain bacteria and viruses.
As its antimicrobial activity is well described UV-C can represent a valuable alternative to solution-based products in times of limited supply of traditional surface disinfectants . Manual cleaning and disinfection is variable because efficacy hugely depends on individuals and their motivation, and assessing this requires direct on-site observation. Despite best practice recommendations, manual cleaning in each hospital is based on local protocols, training, understanding, renewal and staff turnover of cleaning staff, as well as the control and the inspection of their performance. Evidence further suggests that manual cleaning and disinfection are often inadequate and result in residual contamination . Besides killing microorganisms on surfaces, disinfection robots offer reproducibility by recording automatically the operation parameters of the disinfection process and by this, can provide quality assurance. Therefore, automated disinfection could allow the validation of the disinfection process with reproducible and documented disinfection results.
Robotic disinfection will work in an unmanned and standardized fashion, without the need for ongoing human presence at the disinfection site. Therefore, exposure of health care workers to harmful UV radiation can be avoided during the process. Applying UV-C as a final disinfection step after manual cleaning and manual disinfection provides an additional hygiene benefit to reducing cross-transmission and healthcare associated infections. UV light does not leave any residues, making this an environmental friendly disinfection method.