The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the way we work, socialize and most importantly, how we care for those who are the most vulnerable. Micron is inviting developers, tinkerers, inventors, and researchers of the world to create a cost-effective and safe robotic solution that improves surface sanitation by utilizing UV light to deactivate pathogens. Micron recognizes the current need for low-cost readily available solutions to reduce the transmission of virulent pathogens. We want to assist the global community in this endeavor.
Why now you might ask? As the first wave of COVID-19 impacted every population across the globe, we learned many new things pertaining to transmission and prevention. We are better equipped to address the continued pandemic and need sustainable low-cost solutions that can provide safe, preventive, effective ways to protect people in workplaces, shopping areas, healthcare facilities, etc. The UV light technology is one way to reduce exposure to surfaces that may have viruses or bacteria, and also does not require human interaction for the sanitation of those surfaces.
Your challenge is to design a remote-controlled or autonomous robotic system that is highly maneuverable and uses UV light to sanitize a wide variety of surfaces and areas. The target cost should remain under $10,000 USD. Keeping the cost low enables widespread adoption. Small businesses, nursing homes, and other entities can take advantage of a design that is fully open-sourced and easy to manufacture, allowing just about anyone to build it. We encourage you and/or a team of collaborative developers to be creative in your solutions. Design from the ground up or use existing open-source resource hardware and software solutions to fully document your project. Only a design is required for entry (given the potentially high cost of prototyping). If a prototype is developed, it does not automatically become more favorable toward judging, but it might aid in the validation of functionality and manufacturability. Please note that a great design with lots of supporting documentation and contest conformance may score better than a prototype with little documentation or lower conformance.Why UV?
Bio-organisms such as bacteria, spores and viruses are known to be deactivated when exposed to UV-C light irradiation. UV light has been shown to destroy the RNA in viruses and can reduce the transmission of microbes, which can remain active on surfaces for long periods of time.
Without contacting surfaces, the UV light can irradiate exposed surfaces such as doors, desks, chairs, floors, sinks and other bathroom surfaces. Check out the "Resources" section below to learn more on the science behind this.Why Robots?
Robots are cool! Robots are in use for a number of applications where humans can be at risk of exposure. They can do routine tasks with accuracy and repeatability, record their actions for review and verification, and work around the clock to help make our environments cleaner and safer.
We hope to bring together the best of the open source hardware and software community to bring cost effective solutions to our current challenges in making heavily used surfaces safer from exposure to biohazards.
The top three overall winners will receive a cash prize in the form of virtual VISA or Mastercard gift cards.
Engineering Innovation Excellence
Innovation is at the heart of Micron's culture. This award goes to the project that best demonstrates excellence in engineering innovation.
Best in Automation and Control
This prize awards the best project that provides user functionality and efficiency in automation and control.
Best in Safety Features
Project design must keep people safe from biohazards and UV lighting systems while maintaining physical safety for operators and anyone who interacts with this robot. We're awarding the project with the best safety features.
First 25 Qualified Contest Entries
The first 25 qualified contest entries will receive some nifty Micron swag, including a premium backpack.
Judging will be conducted by a panel of subject matter experts with technical background in robotics, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, software development, and sensor experts.
Ultraviolet light destroys the genetic material in pathogens—DNA in bacteria and fungi, RNA in viruses—preventing them from reproducing. The primary function of the UV- robot will be to disinfect rooms using ultraviolet germicidal irradiation for use at various businesses and organizations in exclusive of any industry or setting outside the medical field.
Once the robot is manually energized by the operator, the system must activate the UV lamps/LEDs remotely. The system will operate only when the area being disinfected is fully vacated (no living beings are present) and will be interlocked by the motion safety feature if movement is detected. The robot will sanitize all surrounding surfaces, including the floor.
Example Meeting Room:
Example path of robot disinfecting a meeting room with a targeted kill dose at 6’After each area within a room is sanitized, the robot must be able to move to the next area. Distance/Vision sensors (i.e. camera, laser, IR LED, ultrasonic, etc.) must monitor the environment to prevent human exposure, robot collision, and damage. After the robot has finished sanitizing a room, it will notify the operator that the job is complete and then shut itself down.
The ability to monitor, measure, and track individual performance of each sanitation will need to be available for historical tracking.
Ability to identify doors, handles and other high touch surfaces for preferential sanitation is desired in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness of this sanitation solution.
Example Robot:Reference Articles
- "Inactivation of Viruses on Surfaces by Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation" Written by Chun-Chieh Tseng & Chih-Shan Li; To cite this article: Chun-Chieh Tseng & Chih-Shan Li (2007) Inactivation of Viruses on Surfaces by Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 4:6, 400-405, DOI: 10.1080/15459620701329012
- CDC's Decontamination and Reuse of Filtering Facepiece Respirators
- How we know disinfectants should kill the COVID-19 coronavirus
- Virex® II 256 One-Step Disinfectant Cleaner and Deodorant; Quat Based Disinfectant
- EPA-approved list of products that can safely be used to fight viruses
- NYT article "They Clean the Buildings Workers Are Fleeing. But Who’s Protecting Them?"
- 2020 COVID-19 Coronavirus Ultraviolet Susceptibility Technical Report
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Gain reputation points!
Earn reputation points for participating in this contest:
- Submit a project entry: 10 points
- Submit a project entry 30 days before the deadline: 50 points
- Be among the first 10 to submit a project entry: 50 points
- Your submitted project entry wins the contest: 250 points
June 4, 2020 at 9:00AM PT
August 30, 2020 at 11:59PM PT
Winners announced by
Sep 14, 2020