Fighting Covid-19 With T-Up
15 Jan 2021
A mobile robot intended for painting was improvised for disinfection purpose
Transforma Robotics is a spin-off tech company from Nanyang Technological University (NTU), which offers robots and robotic services to the construction industry, specifically in indoor wall painting and construction quality assessment.
SIMTech’s Research Scientist Dr Quek Zhanfan was seconded to Transforma from August 2019 to July 2020, to lead a team to design a new mobile robot originally intended for painting, a labour-intensive job facing with labour shortage problem.
When COVID-19 broke out in Singapore early last year, Prof Chen I-Ming, CEO of Transforma, discerned that one effective way to fight the pandemic is to keep all indoor environments, especially hospitals clean. This prompted Dr Quek’s team to improvise on the mobile robot for this purpose, leading to the birth of eXtreme Disinfection roBOT (XDBOT), a semi-autonomous robot that can disinfect large surfaces quickly.
With XDBOT, the manpower resources for such labour-intensive and repetitive disinfecting tasks can be reduced by three times. As the robot can be wirelessly controlled via a laptop or tablet, it also removes the need for cleaners to be in contact with surfaces, thereby reducing the risk of picking up the virus from potentially contaminated areas.
The T-Up programme has provided critical talent support for Singapore SMEs to accelerate widespread robotics adoption in the future
Prof Chen I-Ming, CEO, Transforma Robotics Pte Ltd
Comprising a semi-autonomous control unit with motorised wheels, XDBOT has a 6-axis robotic arm that can mimic human movement to reach awkward locations such as under tables and beds, as well as doorknobs, tabletops and light switches. Instead of a conventional pressure-spray nozzle, the XDBOT also uses an electrostatic-charged nozzle to ensure a wider and further spread of the disinfectant, behind and over hidden surfaces.
Transforma expects to sell 100 units of XDBOT by the second year of its launch, which will help to grow the company size from the current 8 employees to 20. The company is also intending to file patents for the robotic and spray-gun design.