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An autonomous robot for disinfecting workplaces created in Fribourg

Start-up Rovenso has just modified one of its machines to turn it into a disinfecting robot using the projection of ultraviolet rays. This robot “made in Fribourg” might provide a way to fight coronavirus.

Rovenso's Robot ROVéo
Rovenso's robot ROVéo could operate on company sites, workshops, offices or cafeterias. | Copyright Rovenso

Founded in 2016 and a spin-off from EPFL, Rovenso is a start-up company specialized in the development of monitoring robots. Based in Villaz-Saint-Pierre in the canton of Fribourg, the company employs seven people and aims to enter the market by the end of 2021. Its engineers have modified one of their autonomous machines, which is now capable of projecting ultraviolet rays to lower the viral load of treated surfaces.

Practically speaking, rays emitted at a specific wavelength, UV-C, are capable of breaking the DNA of bacteria and viruses, which can no longer reproduce. "Cleaning with disinfectant is extremely effective when done properly. However, this is not so easy to do in practice, as the liquid normally needs time to take effect before it is wiped off. Our solution is complementary," explains Thomas Estier, co-founder and director of Rovenso.

Specialized in safety and security monitoring of industrial sites, patrolling at night in the absence of employees, the Rovenso robot is able to analyze environments in three dimensions. Now capable of identifying which surfaces need to be treated (tables, desks, dispensers, etc.) and of simulating the irradiation of surfaces by its UV lamps before applying the required dose, this robot may meet the future disinfection needs of laboratories in life sciences, for research institutes or in the pharmaceutical sector.

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