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The Philippines to Develop UV-C Robot for Disinfections

A robot with ultraviolet-C light that can clean indoor places has been given PHP 5.9 million by the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). The robot will have intelligence features built into it as part of the effort to lessen the risks associated with employing UV radiation.

“While it is true that there are existing robots installed with UV light, most of these target only the floor. There are also existing robots with UV lamps installed on top, but the UV lamp shines the light in an uncontrolled fashion, making it a hazard for humans as UV-C can cause skin burns or eye injuries,” says Franz de Leon, Director, ASTI.

The team behind the initiative will programme the platform’s intelligence and computer vision on a commercially available robot platform. The navigation system’s intelligence will be completed soon, according to the planned deliverable. The robot should be intelligent enough to steer clear of objects in both the horizontal and vertical axes. This means that the robot must avoid bumping into things and even consider its payload’s vertical clearance.

In 2023, the entire system will be integrated and optimised, and the prototype will be developed. The project began in 2020, with the goal of increasing the capacity of the staff involved in the design of autonomous robots. Because of the epidemic and restricted personnel migration, the progress delayed in 2021.

However, the pandemic hampered project development due to constrained employee movement, which was exacerbated by a global shortage of some technological items. Only this year has the project regained thrust. While the overall budget for this project from 2020 to 2023 is PHP 5.9 million. The project team aims to seek external funding if necessary.

The robot is being considered for usage in common indoor areas such as offices, schools, and commercial businesses. As with other ASTI initiatives, the intellectual assets of the robot may be licensed for commercialisation. The ultimate price has yet to be determined, but the team hopes to set a competitive price point in the market.

Meanwhile, employment development and the utilisation of Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) to address numerous challenges that the country faces are among the goals of the new Secretary of Science and Technology (DOST).

According to DOST Secretary Renato Solidum Jr., STI creates jobs while simultaneously promoting rural development. They also have the Science for Change Programme, which focuses on R&D engagement across DOST organisations and higher education institutions.

In terms of human resource development, the DOST will continue to provide undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral scholarships, as well as scholarships at the Philippine Science High School. Moreover, the agency encourages graduates, Masters and PhD students to study entrepreneurship in addition to science, technology, engineering, math, creative arts and agriculture. This will allow people to apply their knowledge and ideas in their work, which will boost industrial production.

DOST assists industries, particularly micro, small, and medium firms, by funding activities and programmes and STI counselling. It is also concerned with issues such as food security and energy. Part of this is investigating plant growth boosters, which could aid in crop output. This differs from fertiliser that can be applied to the soil in that it is sprayed on the leaves, which could result in a 15% to 30% increase in rice output.

Healthy supply alternatives, such as employing root crops and coconut as a flour replacement in bread, are also being studied. In terms of energy, he believes that renewable energy and increased energy storage are essential.

Aside from fossil fuels, DOST stated that a battery can be utilised as an alternate mode of transportation, such as a hybrid road train, and wave energy can be used to power a ship.

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