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Grand Rapids made robots fighting coronavirus

Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young calls it an effective and efficient way to keep the Kent County Jail safe
Credit: Skytron

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Technology has changed the way Americans clean to protect ourselves from viruses like COVID-19. In the post-covid world, people could interact with UVC disinfectant robots on more occasions than they think.

Skytron is a Grand Rapids based company that manufactures infection prevention technology for healthcare systems, correctional facilities and more. The UVC Disinfection robots use ultraviolet light, a type of electromagnetic radiation that can be used to destroy germs. The robots are currently being used inside the Kent County Jail. 

"Its an obligation to make sure that the environment that we have is the absolute safest," says Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young. "This is a large population and they're depending on us to do the right thing and do it in a way that's efficient and effective. And what better technologies than what's used in our hospitals."

"Traditional spray-on chemicals although they're an essential part of our life what we know is that there's a lot of management that the micro organisms can become resistant to them."

Larry Perez is the Vice President of Infection Prevention Technologies, a subdivision of Skytron. He says the design of the robots are what's needed to restore consumer confidence following the coronavirus outbreak. 

Helicopters, fitness centers, child care facilities, hotel rooms and subway cars are just a few places where the robots are currently used. They're mobile and can power up or down by themselves. They don't move on their own just yet, but the emitter can be removed from the base of the robot, so that it can disinfect smaller areas and spaces. 

"Every single day they're used to clean the area where people that are first brought to the Kent County Correctional Facility would be placed," says Sheriff LaJoye-Young. "We're started to test individuals who are being incarcerated and have gotten several COVID-19 positive tests for those people coming into the jail. So in order to protect that next person coming into the jail, we have to make those areas absolutely sanitized."

Other technologies designed to disinfect mobile devices like the ElectroClave can be installed in an office space or in a home. 

"To restore consumer confidence I think that this technology is one of the solutions that you are going to see in everything from the dentists offices to the people that cut your hair," Larry Perez says. "I think we're going to find a way to integrate it because it convenient, it green and it's very powerful."

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