Disinfecting surfaces is part of the daily grind at schools, offices, hospitals and other institutions, but simply wiping them down may not be enough. UV light is proven to kill bacteria and viruses, including COVID-19, but it’s also harmful to human eyes and skin, potentially causing skin cancer or cataracts.
UBTech, maker of the popular Jimu line of kids’ robots and the life-size Walker robot, has a new solution rolling out. Its Adibot robot blasts a room with the appropriate level of UV-C light while humans wait safely outside.
Adibot is available in two versions: a $40,000 model which can roll around a room on its own and a $20,000 stationary unit that you put in the middle of a room. While those prices may sound high, UBTech GM John Rhee told us that hospitals have similar robots that cost well over $100,000. The company also has a program where it charges as little as $15 a day to finance or lease the machines.
Both versions of Adibot come with a smart warning sign that maintenance staff can put outside a room to block people from accidentally entering. Both the robots and the sign itself have human detection capabilities they can use to see if a person enters the line of fire and turn themselves off. They also have cameras that record any intrusions so, if someone does get into the restricted area, you’ll know who it was.
We saw a brief demo of the stationary model in action. An UBTech employee rolled it into an empty conference room, walked outside and then used an iPad app to set the light exposure time (only a couple of minutes is needed), safety settings and other options.
Rhee said that a common use case for Adibot will be school, hotel or office maintenance staff deploying it in rooms before or after they are finished cleaning and move onto the next space. Organizations will not only get the robot and the app, but training on how to use it best, along with timely support and maintenance.
The Adibot will be available later this month and UBTech announced it already has a partnership in place with the Delaware Department of Education to test the robots in its Christina School District.
New Jimu Go Robots
UBTech also announced that it is releasing a new line of kids robots kits dubbed Jimu Go. A successor to its popular line of Jimu robot kits, Jimu Go will launch in Q4 of this year and initially offer three different sets: Robot Speedster, Music Box Maker and Mars Rover.
Rhee told us that Jimu Go will differ from Jimu in a few key ways. First, where Jimu kits have cost as much as $300, Go will focus on affordability with MSRPs below $99. The parts will also be redesigned to make it easier for children who are still developing their hand-eye coordination to plug in wires and connect blocks.
Finally, Jimu Go will offer a camera module that allows users to use computer vision on their robots. So young children, the core audience for Jimu, will now be able to train machine learning models and have their robots do object recognition.
Rhee said that the software for Jimu will be redesigned but will still use the company’s block-based coding language.
First launched in 2016, the company’s original Jimu line of robot kits remains popular. Recent entries in the line include the UnicornBot, which has an RGB horn and motors, and the DragonBot, which has flapping wings.