The Breezy One mobile robot that provides autonomous disinfection services at airports and other large facilities now has a baby sibling, Breezy Blue, to disinfect smaller, compact spaces, such as inside ambulances, school buses and classrooms.
Albuquerque-based Build with Robots publicly unveiled the new minibot Wednesday morning at its headquarters Downtown, where company founder and CEO Chris Ziomek demonstrated the new technology for local media.
Like its older, larger sibling, Breezy Blue is wired with smart technology for automated service, with LED lights and voice alerts when the minibot initiates its disinfection routine, spraying a benign mix of such household chemicals as hydrogen peroxide to produce a light fog that settles over all the nooks and crannies in enclosed spaces. It can be programmed remotely for regular daily fogging and turned on for additional spraying as needed.
“It’s a portable device that’s easy to set up and use,” Ziomek told reporters during the demonstration. “You can carry it where you want and leave it in an ambulance, a classroom or a doorway. You just push the button, the LED lights flash and it goes on.”
Unlike the older sibling, Breezy One — which is a much larger, heavier, rectangular device programmed to autonomously roll on wheels around large facilities — Breezy Blue is stationary. It weighs just 15 pounds — 23 pounds when filled with disinfectant — so users can pick it up by a handle on top to place it where needed.
And, unlike the $50,000 price tag for the industrial service provided by Breezy One, the minibot costs only $2,500.
That’s attracting a much broader customer base than the original disinfection machine, which is currently deployed at about a dozen schools, at various airports, such as the Albuquerque International Sunport, and at the University of New Mexico Pit. A total of some 20 Breezy One machines now cruise regularly through those places for continuous disinfection .
In contrast, the company has pre-sold 80-plus Breezy Blue units since it started deploying initial prototypes of the minibot for customer testing and use last summer.
“It’s now disinfecting Rio Rancho fire stations and ambulances,” Ziomek told the Journal. “Albuquerque Ambulance Service and fire stations in Arizona are using it, and various schools are disinfecting their buildings and buses with it. Three different schools now have a Breezy Blue in every classroom.”
McCurdy Charter School in Española, for example, has ordered 33 Breezy Blues that will begin arriving next week, said the K-12 school operations director, Ian Maestas.
“We’ll deploy the first wave on all ground floors and the next wave on our second floors,” Maestas told the Journal. “We started with early models when the school year began in September. It streamlined everything, allowing us to sanitize areas without doing anything manually.”
McCurdy has more than 500 students dispersed in three buildings. Apart from deploying a unit in every classroom, it will have units in the school kitchen, and on movable carts for gym locker rooms.
That’s bringing peace of mind to teachers, Maestas said.
“They believe in them,” he said. “They use them regularly, say when a kid is coughing, to deter the spread of germs.”
The disinfectant used in both of the Breezy bots — Breezy BioCare RTU — is based on a formula developed originally by Sandia National Laboratories and licensed by Arizona-based SpectraShield Technologies, which partnered with Build with Robots to supply the disinfectant as a “ready-to-use,” or RTU formula, that requires no mixing and has a long shelf life, Ziomek told the Journal. It’s been certified by the Green Clean Institute and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, with third-party lab testing showing 99.99% efficacy against coronavirus and many other pathogens.
“It fogs the whole area and gets on all surfaces and fabrics throughout the room,” Ziomek said. “Sensors show the disinfectant sits in the air for hours and continues to disinfect the room.”
Build with Robots is collecting data on school nurse office visits and general absenteeism to measure impact on reducing illness, said company Business Development Representative Christian Slough. Full-year data is needed in facilities now deploying the new Breezy Blue model, but schools that already use Breezy One, such as St. Mary’s Catholic School in Albuquerque, which first deployed it in early 2021, show significant benefits. “We’ve seen trends of a 41% reduction in nurse office visits,” Slough told the Journal.
Build with Robots is a homegrown Albuquerque startup launched in 2017. It has raised $6M in local venture investment to date and currently employs about 20 people.
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