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Micron UV Robot Challenge HACKATHON 

 June 15, 2020

By  Mike Oitzman

Micron announces UV Robot Challenge

​Micron Technology has launched a hackathon to develop an open-source UV disinfection robot. The concept for the hackathon is develop reliable, low-cost ultraviolet-light robotic solutions ​to automate disinfection processes while combating the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases.

Micron Technology, Inc. is an American producer of computer memory and computer data storage including dynamic random-access memory, flash memory, and USB flash drives. It is headquartered in Boise, Idaho.

​They are inviting engineers, inventors and professionals in robotics or machine learning to design a complete solution through a collaborative, open-source approach. The goal is to design a machine that effectively disinfects surfaces and rooms within a facility, for under 10K in parts.

Details About the Micro UV Robot Challenge

To learn complete details and sign up for the challenge, go to hackster.io

The hackathon officially started on June 4 and continues through August 30, 2020. There are over $21,000 in prizes for the hackathon, including a $10,000 first prize. As of the publication of this article, there were already 117 participants registered.

​Low Cost Solution to UV Light Disinfection

​René Hartner, ​Vice President Corporate Business Development at Micron, said "If you are running a nursing home, you might not have $90K for a commercial UV disinfection robot. Those robots are quite expensive, and we wanted to sponsor this hackathon to make the technology affordable and available to safeguard small businesses." Hartner went to say, "we approached several universities and multiple of them decided to get labs and students involved in the challenge. In addition, several companies are making patents available if the technology can be applied to this problem."

​Anatomy of an UV Robot

We're not here to ​spoil any secrets about autonomous mobile robots (AMR) for the hackathon contestants. However, ​since we just finished up our market survey of UV Disinfection Solutions with the publication of the 2020 Buyers Guide, I think that The Mobile Robot Guide knows a thing or two about this market at the current moment.

The average price of UV disinfection mobile robots is $53K (USD). The highest priced solution on the market is $125K (USD) and the least expensive is $6K (USD). So it is possible to develop a commercial AMR solution for under the $10K benchmark as outlined in the hackathon rules.

The ​most expensive parts for the solution are not in the payload (which is where the UV lights reside). In fact, the most expensive components for a system like this will be in the battery (UV light disinfection is a power hungry application), and in the sensors on board the AMR base. Most AMR bases use LIDAR for navigation, and LIDAR is really reliable for determining if humans are ​outside of a safe distance from the robot (before starting a disinfection cycle). However, commercial LIDAR sensors cost between $1.5K and $9K, which is a big chunk of that $10K budget.

AMR Payload diagram

Illustration defining an AMR payload - taken from the Mobile Robot Guide Buyers Guide (image copyright The Mobile Robot Guide)

Stayed Tuned for a Review of the Winners

We're going to follow the progress of this hackathon as it progresses. So stay tuned for coverage of the event, the winning projects and the innovation that ensues. It is encouraging to see this level of excitement around viable AMR applications.

Good luck to all of the participants.​

This hackathon is a timely and valuable response to the current economic conditions that we're all facing. If you are looking to purchase a commercial UV Disinfection robot, be sure to get a copy of our recent Disinfection Solutions Buyers Guide, where you can learn all about viable disinfection processes, and read a complete review of all of the solutions currently on the market, including our recommendations for best solutions and technology innovation.

Mobile Robot Buyers Guide showing document cover and award badges

​The 2020 Autonomous Disinfection Solutions Buyers Guide has been published!

​This edition focuses entirely on AMR-based disinfection solutions to help facility managers clean and disinfect their facilities.

We've done all of the market research on the latest products.

Get it now!

About the author 

Mike Oitzman

Mike Oitzman brings 25 years of product management and product marketing experience to the role of publisher and editor for Mobile Robot Guide. Mike is a respected expert in the mobile robot market and is a frequent panel leader and speaker at events and tradeshows.

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