Questions for “New robots can clean virus-laden surfaces so people won’t have to”

a photo of a four-legged robot with a disinfection nozzle

This robot looks a bit like a dog or cat as it stretches and crouches to spray a germ-fighting cleaner onto surfaces. Such novel automatons can help stop the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases.

Quan Nguyen

To accompany feature “New robots can clean virus-laden surfaces so people won’t have to


Before Reading:

1.  How do you and your family members sanitize germy surfaces when someone gets sick?

2.  Robots take on some of the same tasks that people now do. What challenges are there to getting a robot to accurately perform those tasks?

During Reading:

1.  What is LASER-D and what does that name stand for?

2.  What is the mission of LASER-D, according to its designers?

3.  Why does the story argue that disinfecting surfaces is an ideal job for robots?

4.  How did DINGO get its start? When did Dean Conte and Tomonari Furukawa decide to change DINGO’s mission? And where did they do the work to transform DINGO into a potential germ-fighter?

5.  What is UVC and why do some hospitals use it to sanitize surfaces? What are some risks associated with using UVC for this purpose?

6.  According to Dean Conte, how much faster can DINGO clean a typical hospital room compared to pedestal robots?

7.  What is ADDAMS? And among robot sanitizers, what is its special skill?

8.  What happens when LASER-D encounters stairs? What allows this robot to know when it has sprayed enough of a disinfectant?

9.  Which of the robots profiled in this story is ready to be purchased today?

10. Why does Juan Leon argue that when it comes to germ-killing, people should not rely solely on robots? What else would he have people do?

After Reading:

1.  If you had the opportunity to buy an affordable version of one of these robots for your home, which would you choose — and why? If you were instead selecting it for your school classroom, which would you choose? If it’s not the same, why did you pick a different type of robot for school?

2.  Some people don’t like the idea of robots replacing humans for fairly simple tasks. Do you think that robots are taking important jobs away from humans or instead helping people? Use information from the story to support your argument.