Mobile robots for disinfection of healthcare environments: Sant’Anna School Philanthropic Foundation “Il Talento all’Opera” announces Robotica REstart project funded by Reale Mutua, the parent company of Reale Group

Robotics can play a valuable role in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Mobile robots can be used for disinfection purposes minimizing operators’ exposure to the infected environment. To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, it is essential to keep surfaces disinfected; the Robotica REstart mobile robot will have the ability to drive autonomously and clean surfaces in healthcare facilities and public spaces to ensure safety for workers and the larger public. The Robotica REstart project will support operators in the healthcare sector, using robots to reduce the spread of viruses in hospitals Fondazione Monasterio and Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Pisana by September 2020.

Reale Group has funded the Robotica REstart project  working with the Philanthropic Foundation Il Talento all'Opera (established in January 2020) in the development, testing and manufacture of robots  that perform dangerous disinfection tasks to protect hospital personnel and assist people in the phase two of the pandemic. Antonio Frisoli, professor of engineering mechanics and robotics at the TeCIP Institute Sant’Anna School, will serve as the project coordinator.

The Robotica REstart project team will work with partners and stakeholders on a unique approach to third mission activities answering different needs of people beyond the university traditional mission of teaching and research. Sant’Anna School has always contributed to the local community and the wider society. This project will have a direct impact and play a direct role in supporting the civic mission of higher education bringing together advanced robotics research results, university fundraising programs, public health, and safety.

The Robotica REstart mobile robot will irradiate surfaces with UV-C light and spray chemicals that can help limit the spread of infection on surfaces and equipment. This vision-guided robot will offer solutions for disinfection at a desired frequency as it is preloaded with localization and mapping tools so that the remote operator can instruct the robot to focus on target areas at a specific time. Researchers will retool existing inspection robot manipulators, equipped with advanced sensor technologies that are commonly used in factories. Modifications will comprise hardware components and innovative non-toxic, non-corrosive sterilization method.

“Since the Covid-19 outbreak, Reale Group, in line with its mission, has mobilized to provide mutual support and solidarity by creating a response plan with 5 million euros in assistance to hospitals as they struggle the pandemic. We are proud to provide concrete examples of solidarity and cooperation. We have decided to partner with the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies – Pisa to reinforce the impact of our initiative which combines health protection, solidarity and innovation.”, said Virginia Antonini (Head of Sustainable Development Dept., Reale Group).

“A few days ago, we have announced the establishment of the philanthropic Foundation Il Talento all’Opera: as a foundation we aim to recognize achievements of talented students and offer merit-based awards through strategic fundraising in higher education institution. In contributing to the wellbeing of students and communities, it is essential to play our role of responsible actor in phase 2 economic recovery and help mitigate negative impacts of   Covid-19 pandemic.”, said Gina Giani (President of Il Talento all’Opera Foundation).

“This partnership confirms the importance of our role in committing funds to university’s third mission initiatives. We took immediate actions to tackle the pandemic and we can offer a useful tool for environmental disinfection. As a higher education institution, teaching, research and social impact are our top priorities.”, said Sabina Nuti (Rector of Sant’Anna School).

“We must invest in emerging technology to ensure the safest environment for everyone, healthcare workers, employees and population. Our robots for disinfection and sterilization are specifically designed for applications in Fondazione Monasterio and Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Pisana hospitals and clinical environment.”, said Antonio Frisoli (Project Coordinator).