Robots are helping us fight COVID-19

Global Business

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With workers around the world susceptible to COVID-19 infections on the job, companies are trying to find ways to create safer environments. That includes looking to workmates who won’t get infected — robots. CGTN’s Mark Niu has the details.

Shopping for groceries has become more time consuming and stressful.

That’s why the company Simbe robotics says their robot Tally is now more popular than ever.

The autonomous robot scans shelves with computer vision to know exactly what’s in stock.

“Tally knows precisely where every product resides in a store, so the location data is valuable both to customers and shoppers that are coming into the environment to help find a product quickly as well as store associates to know rapidly where they should go to restock that sort of product,” said Simbe Co-founder and CEO Brad Bogolea. “This kind of data can be highly valuable to people like Instacart to help them pick groceries faster.”

Tally is embedded with more than 20 sensors including 2D ones and 3D ones like these. These are able to capture images in low light and also depth perception to make sure products are in their proper place.

The autonomous robot utilizes machine learning technology to provide data to more than a dozen global retailers in six countries.

This helps save customers wasted trips to the store, prevents employees from needlessly clogging aisles and alerts stores when they need to re-order products.

“Retailers are seeing a unique opportunity for automation to add resiliency to their supply chain.,” Bogolea said. “I think many retail CIO’s around the world are beginning to think about how technology and better data can assist them in pandemics like COVID in the future.”

Other robotics companies are taking on the challenge of disinfecting workplaces.

“It’s not enough to just wipe the surface, literally you have to keep the surface perfectly wet for almost ten minutes,” said Xenex CEO Morris Miller. “It’s an impossible task that you are asking the housekeepers to do with standard disinfection wipes.”

Xenex, has a solution—a virus-zapping robot called LightStrike.

“We are actually a 100% confident that LightStrike can kill the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, Miller said. “It puts out broad spectrum, high-intensity ultraviolet light. And basically that’s going to lyse the cell of the pathogens – kill them so they can’t reproduce.”

Xenex’s business is up more than 600% since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.

While hospitals are the main customers, hotels, food processing plants and the cruise industry are all showing more interest.

Miller says they all share the same goal, making places safer, so workers and customers feel confident about returning.

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