Mighty 97th uses cutting-edge robot to exterminate germs

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The 97th Air Mobility Wing acquired a LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robot, March 27, 2020, at Altus Air Force Base. According to studies, Germ-Zapping Robots have been proven to quickly destroy infectious germs and bacteria using intense pulsed xenon ultraviolet (UV) light.

The robot was acquired in order to combat the potential spread of diseases in high traffic work areas. The acquisition was a combined effort between the 97th Contracting Flight, who were in charge of finding and purchasing the device and the 97th Comptroller Squadron, who handled the budgeting to purchase the robot.

According to U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Hannah Kreun, an occupational safety craftsman assigned to the 97th Air Mobility Wing, the robots capabilities are interesting and easy to use. Kreun mentioned how it looks like a “‘Dalek’ from ‘Doctor Who,’ but instead of wanting to eliminate humans, it exterminates germs.”

The use of intense UV light to disinfect rooms, results in greater efficiency and no chemical residue or toxic fumes. The robot uses pulsed xenon (a noble gas) to create intense UV light, unlike older technologies that use mercury bulbs to create continuous, single spectrum UV light.

The robot is capable of cleaning an estimated radius of seven feet in about five-to-ten minutes. The robot can be used in any work center on the base, including offices, conference rooms, isolation rooms, operating rooms, general patient care rooms, contact precaution areas, emergency rooms, restrooms and public spaces.

“The plan for the robot is to be shared base-wide as an additional tool to aid in preventing the spread of diseases,” said Master Sgt. Hector Renteria, the base functional manager assigned to the 97th Air Mobility Wing. “This robot is another way the base is ensuring Airmen and their workspaces remain safe to operate in.”