As the country’s fourth-largest airport system, the Houston Airport System serves over 180 cities worldwide, with Bush Intercontinental Airport ranking third in the United States among airports with scheduled non-stop domestic and international service.
ALBUQUERQUE, NM., July 12th, 2021 l Source: Build With Robots
So far this month, Breezy OneTM has been deployed at 3 different airports. The Build With Robots team has been busy in the month of July, first starting at George Bush Intercontinental and then William P. Hobby Airport. Each airport will now have autonomous robots disinfecting their facilities with 99.9999% of pathogens being eliminated. This marks Breezy One as the first robot to be working in two *4-star airports.
As far back as May 2020 Houston was attempting to build upon their 4-star rating, aiming to be one of the few 5-star airports in the world. Houston Airports Director Mario Diaz was quoted then saying, “Despite this crisis, we will use this time to continue to make improvements that will help us reach our vision of establishing Houston Airports as a five-star global air service gateway where the magic of flight is celebrated.” This comes after another huge weekend of travel, as TSA saw over 2.1 million passengers.
Click here for the full story in Airport Improvement.
Schools are, and forever will be, the key to our future. Students grow up spending the majority of their time at a desk, at school. A typical U.S. student spends 8,884 hours over nine years to complete primary and lower secondary education. If students are spending thousands of hours at school, how can we [businesses] help make it more fun and memorable?
Build With Robots sees the value in education, and that has always included the value of working with your hands. Breezy One is a testament to that.
Take it from Edwin Ochoa, one of our lead Mechanical Engineers:
“I get to use my education when I engineer Breezy. But what I love is that I get to work with my hands and assemble things that alone may only be wires and metal, but together create an autonomous robot”.
Although some may associate Build With Robots with just robots and automation, the company culture also offers a space for learning. “We always aim for perfection…but what we excel at is sharing our knowledge from the diverse backgrounds we come from,” says Chris Zoimek, CEO. That philosophy translates to the entire team, just take one walk through our building and you’ll see quotes, drawings, and brainstorms written on almost every wall.
What does this have to do with education?
As we deploy Breezy One’s across the nation, we are not just deploying an autonomous disinfecting robot. Breezy One is a symbol of imagination, creativity, and possibility. But if you talk to any member of our team, you’ll come to find that not a single one of us got here solely by going to class.
Learning experiences outside the classroom are known as experiential learning. These experiences are rooted in the simple principle that “experience is the best teacher.” Research has shown that students that participate in experiential learning have higher levels of motivation, remember course material more vividly, and have improved academic performance (Takeuchi et al., 2016; Ryan and Deci, 2017).
Take RoboRave as an example. The program teaches students and teachers how to design, build, program, and test robots to perform a variety of tasks. Their mission of, “Today’s Play, Tomorrow’s Pay” embodies the point of education; that things should be fun yet directed, and their 25 years of operation shows just how successful they’ve been.
Schools like St. Mary’s (ABQ, NM) have captured this extremely well.
St. Mary’s Catholic School, a K-8th grade school from Albuquerque, New Mexico, also deployed one of the first Breezy One’s this past year.
When Breezy’s are deployed, our team will run microbial tests to ensure we are disinfecting at the level we promise (99.9999%). To do this, we set out dishes packed with pathogens; measuring the levels of bacteria before and after we fog a facility. It is a relatively simple procedure that can be replicated by almost anyone. So simple, that even students at St. Mary’s could run their own tests in their 8th-grade science.
They not only found that Breezy does in fact kill 99.9999% of bacteria throughout the facility but experienced how hands-on science can be done. From microbial testing to robotics competitions, Breezy can be used for more than disinfecting.
The workforce needs will forever be changing, and education will always follow to fill those needs. But the question that remains is how education will teach these needs. Is it a matter of relevant/innovative curriculum being supplied to teachers or a matter of training teachers to deliver content? Regardless, some school districts still lag behind in resources needed to give their students such experiences. As a company, we want to be a force for good and therefore acknowledge our role in educating the next generation.
Our Commitment to Education
Our role as a company goes beyond robots. We recognize our responsibility to our community, and we value the support we’ve been given. A company is always more than the product, and that’s how we see Breezy. Our autonomy robot is the best way to disinfect, but also a tool to educate the future high-tech workforce that we will need.
For schools looking for a hands-on curriculum, Breezy OneTM can be leveraged in:
Sensors & automation
Cloud data visualization & analytics coding
Machine assembly & servicing
Bioscience of pathogen sampling & disinfection
Our employees are open to volunteering at local schools that would like to see this in action; from lectures to guest speakers, just email Christian.email@example.com for volunteer inquiries and ideas!
As a start-up, we are nimble, collaborative, and remain open-minded to what the future can be. We are always looking to work with schools, to keep them safe, but also to make learning fun. When Build With Robots looks to the future, we see a community of learners ready to open books and open minds.
Albuquerque, NM: My name’s Tyanne Hawthorne. I am the newest and youngest team member at Build With Robots.
I am a marketing intern, and I personally hate cleaning. This is ironic for a person that works at a company known for disinfection. It’s a chore I do reluctantly, and arguably not as often as I should. Despite this, I still see myself as a bit of a germaphobe, especially when I’m out in public. Gas stations and bathrooms are a nightmare, I become hyper-aware of every little thing I touch.
I put my card in the slot – are there germs in there?
I press the button to choose my fuel – who else has touched this button?
Then I grab the nozzle, and I can feel the nastiness on it. When I put my card back into my wallet, I can’t help but think about all the germs that I just put in there with it. It’s an uncomfortable process, and with the pandemic going on, I’ve been extra aware of what I touch.
This is fresh in my mind because the Build with Robots team and I will be traveling to the American Association of Airports Executives Conference in my hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada. We will be traveling in an airplane to get there, and it makes me wonder, “How are clean are these airports?”
What does it mean to be clean?
In the time that I have been here, I have learned many things that I overlooked for most of my life. Literally overlooked, because much of what I learned is on a microscopic level. So here is what I’ve learned:
Cleaning, in a technical sense, only means that dirt, dust, and other visible particles have been removed, along with some germs. Disinfecting, on the other hand, is the actual killing of germs and bacteria using chemicals.
In other words, disinfecting actually kills germs while cleaning reduces germs. The EPA guidelines require a 6-log kill (99.9999%) in order to qualify a chemical as a disinfectant. A log kill essentially shows the number of live bacteria eliminated through disinfecting. This is important because germs can multiply and be completely restored within hours if a 6-log kill is not used (see image).
Not all things that claim to be disinfectants actually are disinfectants.
Take Lysol as an example. Lysol wipes have a 3-log kill, meaning they reduce bacteria by 99.9% That [99.9%] may seem effective, but bacteria grow back fast enough that a 99.9% spray only keeps a surface safe for a few hours. What’s unnerving is that even if someone wipes down the surface every week, or even every day, bacteria and pathogens grow back fast enough that they effectively render any cleaning, as if it never happened. That’s why we use DF-500 with Breezy One, a disinfectant developed at the Sandia National Labs that has a 6-Log kill.
Knowing these things now has caused me to think more deeply about our trip to Las Vegas, which is now in less than 24 hours. What comes to mind is whether my fellow passengers are having the same thoughts?
When was the last time we were at an airport?
Do we recall all the people crowded in lines?
What about the way we have to remove our shoes and put them in bins to be reused for other people’s items?
Do we remember seeing other passengers take their carry-on bags everywhere, from restaurants to the bathroom?
We will soon remember these feelings as the world starts to reopen more and more. Airports, while a great way to travel, can still be filled with bacteria and pathogens which follow people across state and national borders. But because airports offer tremendous benefits, proper measures must be put in place to ensure the health and safety of everyone.
Routine sanitizing using effective disinfectants should be the requirement because that is what it means for a building to be safe. That could mean safety for our team, or safety for people who are more vulnerable (elderly, auto-immune diseases, etc.).
At Build with Robots, we are creating a safer space for travelers, workers, and their families. While I remain a germophobe, I know when I see Breezy One at the Sunport tomorrow, I’ll have peace of mind.
Learn more about how we are working together to keep spaces like the George Bush Intercontinental, William P. Hobby Airport, and the Albuquerque Sunport safe at BuildWithRobots.com.
About Build With Robots Inc.: Build With Robots is an Albuquerque-based technology company applying the latest robotics and automation within new industries. The company’s proprietary robotic systems are used by organizations in the transportation, construction, and entertainment industries. Its leading autonomous disinfection solution, Breezy One™ was developed at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic to help reopen large facilities and keep workers and the public safe.
Albuquerque, NM: St. Mary’s Catholic School announced that it has begun autonomous disinfection using the Breezy One™ robot from Build With Robots. St. Mary’s School has stayed open during the Covid-19 pandemic by employing best practices to keep students, teachers and staff safe. Now, St. Mary’s has teamed with Build With Robots to deploy the latest robotic technology to safely disinfect common areas throughout the day and completely disinfect the entire school every night.
Other New Mexico Schools may open in a few weeks, but one New Mexico school has months of experience protecting and educating students during the pandemic. “St. Mary’s has been open since August and is dedicated to our students’ learning and safety. We developed a reopening plan last summer to prepare for the school year, even though we did not know if we would be allowed to open.” said Rebecca Maestas-Sanchez, Principal of St. Mary’s School. To keep in-person learning safe, St. Mary’s implemented all the usual PPE, added desk shields, and in the elementary grades, has teachers rotating between classrooms instead of students. And there is an online option for those who do not feel safe attending in person.
Maestas-Sanchez, who is committed to quality education, said “we know students learn best when they are face to face with their teachers and peers. Seizing this time to come up with creative opportunities to ensure our students’ learning has been a nonnegotiable for me personally. These kids will be the next community leaders, professionals and entrepreneurs. Because of our partnership with Build With Robots, we have been able to take this to the next level to ensure teaching and learning remains a priority at St. Mary’s.”
Pathogens, including the one that causes Covid-19, must be addressed through proper disinfection practices. The CDC recommends regular cleaning and then disinfecting using approved chemicals to keep staff and students safe. Breezy One™ is the fastest, most efficient, and cheapest way to disinfect large spaces safely. Build With Robots has Breezy One™ units operating in multiple locations around the country. St. Mary’s was Build With Robots’ first school, and the students at St. Mary’s love their new robot and have named her Macrina after the patron saint of robots. The students outfitted Macrina with a school uniform and now she proudly displays the school colors as she autonomously disinfects the school facilities.
“At Build With Robots, our mission is to bring safe, effective and scalable sanitization solutions to help people all over the country to get back to work safely,” said Kimberly Corbitt, Build With Robots Chief Commercial Officer. “As the world’s most effective autonomous disinfection robot, we are excited that Breezy One is now helping New Mexico’s students get back to school safely.”
About Build With Robots Inc.: Build With Robots is an Albuquerque-based technology company applying the latest robotics and automation within new industries. The company’s proprietary robotic systems are used by organizations in the transportation, construction and entertainment industries. Its leading autonomous disinfection solution, Breezy One™ was developed at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic to help reopen large facilities and keep workers and the public safe.
About St. Mary’s Catholic School: St. Mary’s Catholic School has been serving the Albuquerque community by educating its children for over 100 years. Established by Jesuit priests in 1892, St. Mary’s is rooted in rich Catholic tradition providing Christian leadership and academic excellence. Today, St. Mary’s educates over 250 students in grades JK-8 and is the first Catholic dual language school in the state of New Mexico.
Airflow is a subject dear to Charlie Strange’s heart. As the facilities director for a Texas facility operated by HVAC manufacturer Goodman, he helps oversee the production of heating, ventilation, and AC units in the world’s fifth-largest factory building — 4.2 million square feet of space, all dedicated to the generation of hot and cold currents and gusts.
But when the pandemic forced Goodman to send thousands of workers home, Strange had to consider airflow anew — specifically, how the eddies and flows inside his Texas plant would affect the work of his latest hire: a cleaning robot named Breezy One that trundles around the gargantuan factory, spraying a fine mist of virus-killing disinfectant onto the surfaces. For office managers looking at a pandemic-tinged future, such considerations could well become routine.
“This robot’s going to be able to clean 200,000 square feet of office and conference rooms in two, maybe two and a half hours,” Strange tells The Verge. “It would take my team all night long to do that — wiping down every surface by hand.”
When Strange unpacked the Breezy One, the first tasks he and the machine’s creators, Build With Robots, had to tackle was a contaminant study — finding out exactly where the bot’s disinfectant mist could clean. To carry out this study, technicians dropped test plates around the plant populated with microbes taken from the compost heap of Kimberly Corbitt, Build With Robots’ head of customer engagement.
“It’s the worst smelling thing you’ve ever smelled in your life,” says Corbitt of her compost. “I dilute it in a giant pitcher of water, put it into a spray bottle, then spray it onto these foam plates. The first time I did it, the total viable count was out of the testable range and I had to dilute it by a factor of 100. My compost is really healthy.”
Each plate is divided into two halves: one side covered and the other side uncovered. Once the plates have been placed, Breezy One does its thing, spreading a mist of disinfectant around the area. The next day, technicians check to see what percentage of microbes have been killed off, comparing the uncovered half of the plates with the covered half as a control sample. In essence, they’re checking that the disinfectant is getting everywhere it should.
This is why airflow is important, says Strange, as his team had to account for the building’s air conditioning units when checking the spread of the disinfectant around its offices and meeting rooms. “We might slow down the robot or change the route based on the dispersal pattern because of the HVAC or how high the ceiling is,” he says.
Thankfully, Goodman found that Breezy One worked as advertised. “The dispersal pattern on it is very nice, it mists very well, which means [the disinfectant] floats and can get into all those areas,” says Strange. “That’s one of the reasons you want the airflow in the room going, because it helps deliver it around the room, rather than having it shoot straight up and fall straight down.”
The robot itself is about the size of a bulky trash can, with a wheeled base and two large mist-producing jet nozzles on top that stick out like a pair of swiveling eyes. It moves at a steady walking pace, using a combination of LIDAR and 3D cameras to navigate like a self-driving car. And it’s not the only robot making its way into these sorts of shared spaces.
Cleaning machines have come into fashion with the pandemic. Hospitals around the world have been deploying them since the spring, using robots that radiate ultraviolet light to kill germs and viruses rather than “foggers” like Breezy One. Airports and arenas are getting in on the action, too, with the latter using drones that spray disinfectant over stadium seating. Now it seems offices are next. The demand certainly seems to be there, with one US manufacturer, Xenex, saying sales of its UV cleaning robots are up 600 percent compared to 2019.
Melonee Wise, CEO of Fetch Robotics, the company that makes the autonomous base of Breezy One, tells The Verge that interest in disinfecting robots has taken off swiftly. She says the two main types of machines — UV emitters and foggers — are suited to different markets, with the former better suited for small rooms and the latter working best in larger spaces.
Robots like these will become staple fixtures “in any area that has a large amount of the general public filtering through,” predicts Wise. “There’s just a large need to provide continuous disinfection.” She says, although the pandemic has prompted many companies to investigate these machines. If the robots prove their effectiveness, they’ll likely become a regular part of cleaning operations even after COVID-19 is under control.
“Whether or not it’s COVID, there’s always going to be some next viral thing coming through that [companies] will want to disinfect,” says Wise. “We’re looking at having one at our headquarters for flu season, for example, as I would guess maybe 30 percent of staff ends up out because of flu.”
“I think people should be demanding that these things are in their offices,” she adds.
Some buyers certainly see the robots as investments for an uncertain future. Pamela Ott, deputy city manager for Pleasanton, an affluent city in Alameda County, California, purchased three UV cleaning robots for operation in various government facilities — the city permit office, the library, and senior center — and says she thinks they’ll be useful long beyond the duration of the pandemic.
“We purchased the robots because we know they’re helpful now and helpful in the long run,” Ott told The Verge. “We look around and we look ahead, and we don’t think COVID is going away, certainly not in the very near future…. And we know any time we can better clean and disinfect our facilities, that’s a good position for us.”
Ott says each of the three machines she purchased from local distributor SNAP Solutions cost around $99,000 but that the price was worth it. “It’s a significant outlay for a city, but it’s our belief that our purchase of the robot is one of the most important steps we can take to ensure the safety of our employees and community members,” says Ott. The makers of Pleasanton’s new cleaning robots, Blue Ocean Robotics, say they’ve sold to a number of customers for use in offices and that interest has also spiked from hotels in recent months.
Gauging how effective these machines actually are at protecting people from COVID is difficult, though. Build With Robots, maker of the Breezy One, claims that the disinfectant its machines use kills 99.9999 percent of bacteria, as well as the novel coronavirus. (The chemical solution in question is a brand known as Aeris Active.) But killing the virus by cleaning surfaces is not the same as safeguarding real-world environments from COVID-19.
Scientists know that the virus that causes COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets — small droplets of saliva, mucus, and other internal fluids that are created when we cough, sneeze, talk, or simply breathe. But the most common ways for these droplets to spread the virus from person to person is still a matter of ongoing investigation. Current evidence suggests that COVID-19 “spreads easily” when people are in close contact with one another, while transmission via contaminated surfaces is “less common,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And that means wearing masks and stopping people from crowding together is likely to be more important for hygiene purposes than cleaning desks, door handles, and other surfaces.
Despite this, those buying robots for surface cleaning hope the machines will at least help more than they harm. Strange says that his robots are at least saving the company money. Although Goodman won’t share exactly what it’s paying for Breezy One, Build With Robots says the cost for hiring its machines is between $3,250 and $10,750 a month, depending on the number of robots and the length of the contract. Strange also adds that no workers have been or will be let go because of the machines and that they’re simply taking on work that would have been done during overtime by human staff.
What Strange says is most impressive, though, is how easy it is now to integrate this sort of technology into an ordinary office like those used by Goodman. “I’ve dealt with a lot of automation over a lot of years and I’ve yet to find an honest-to-god fire and forget,” he says. “But if we’d been talking five, seven years ago I’d have had a team of four to keep this thing running. And now I’m just going to have one person moving it from zone to zone. It’s amazing how far we’ve come.”