Very criticized in its last weeks, especially in France where the justice pushed it to close its warehouses after an unfair decision, Amazon continues its actions to fight against Covid-19 and protect its employees.
Indeed, a large investigation by Lesley Stahl published in the famous magazine 60 minutes by CBS News reveals the many actions implemented by the Seattle firm to fight against the pandemic and, in particular, the development of a virus killer robot. Yes, you read that right, Amazon uses robotics to protect its employees and customers from Coronavirus.
Amazon tests a killer robot to eradicate Coronaviruses from its warehouses and stores
It was a CBS report that revealed it: Amazon is currently testing a robot of its own design to kill the Coronavirus by disinfecting the surfaces of Whole Foods refrigerated display cases using around ten UV lamps.
"We have great ideas from all areas of the business", said Kristen Kish to Business Insider. “Our robotics group has become an R&D laboratory for COVID-19 innovation using machine learning first to detect social distancing opportunities in our building, and then now to design and test disinfection with mobile ultraviolet sanitation. "
Kristen Kish then added that "Although these mobile units are not currently in use at any of the sites Amazon or Whole Foods Market, we are excited about the opportunities and will continue to innovate to ensure we support our employees, customers and communities. "
Indeed, Amazon is still only at the study stage, in close collaboration with researchers from famous American universities who see it as a pro-active and non-curative solution that it would probably be easier to implement on a large scale and which would make it possible to better fight against pandemics in the future.
Scientific tests on the impact of UV on SARS-CoV-2
"Far UV light has the potential to be a game changer" Prof. David Brenner
Many scientists have been interested in the impact that UV rays could have on viruses for years. Capable of mutating the genetic material of humans like viruses, UV light would be potentially useful for eradicating viruses and germs, making their divisions or reproduction impossible.
In one article published on his site, Columbia University's Center for Radiological Research discusses its research into "distant UV lamps" that emit continuous low doses of ultraviolet light. "Far UV light has the potential to be a game changer", according to David Brenner, professor of radiation biophysics and director of the center. “It can be used safely in busy public spaces, and it kills pathogens in the air before we can breathe them in. "
One of the rare avenues of research consisting in eradicate the Coronavirus before it even enters the body but which turns out to be expensive, the scientist estimating that fitting the ceilings of a medium-sized store with UV lamps could cost as much as $ 100, hence the interest of imagining a robot able to move around and walk along the windows like the one designed by Amazon.
More and more present in our daily lives, will robots embody the salvation of humanity by helping us protect ourselves from pandemics? We will find out in the years to come.