Meet the COVID-Killing Robots That Might Save Film Sets
"Germ-zapping" robots that have been used successfully in hospitals might try to make it in Hollywood soon.
Since film and TV productions have ground to a halt in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we've seen many different teams come to the table with options for getting back on set. Baltasar Kormákur is trying color-coded armbands. Other productions are quarantining together. Producers have written handbooks with potential guidelines.
But no one has suggested germ-zapping cleaning robots—until now.
The robots hail from a Texas company, Xenex Disinfection Services, and according to independent research, they are able to kill 99.99% of the coronavirus in 2 minutes. The robots use "LightStrike" technology, or pulses of ultraviolet light, to kill the virus that causes COVID-19.
Xenex's co-founder, Dr. Mark Stibich, has created a venture called "Production Safe Zone" with actor/director Justin Golding. The Production Safe Zone team is pitching the germ-zapping robots to big players like Netflix and Amazon as a way to get Hollywood safely up and creating again.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the CBS show Blue Bloods has put one of these killer robots on hold.
Xenex's robots can be rented monthly or purchased for about $125,000.
The robots need to be left in a room alone for about 5 minutes to complete the disinfection process. It emits pulses of intense light, and can move within a space or remain stationary. Prolonged exposure to the UV light can damage human eyes, which is why the operator must exit.
Production Safe Zone is also offering COVID-19 testing, help with social-distancing plans, high-temperature laundry services, and medical teams. All-inclusive services cost $75 per person per day. A production must operate a minimum of 30 days with a minimum of 50 team members.
That's a total of over $110,000, proving once again that the coronavirus is a costly impediment to many productions.
On Wednesday, California governor Gavin Newsom hosted a Economic Recovery & Reinvention Listening Tour online meeting with several high-ranking Hollywood figures.
During the livestream, Newsom announced he would release guidelines this coming Monday which would allow some California counties to move toward reopening. He made it clear that Los Angeles county, where COVID-19 cases remain high, would not be among those counties.
Many in the entertainment industry have reacted negatively, certain the governor is moving too quickly.
What do you think? Would you feel safe on a set that uses germ-zapping robots? Let us know in the comments.