A mechanical engineer at the University of Virginia has built a semi-autonomous robot to help combat the coronavirus pandemic. According to a release, studies have found that the COVID-19 virus can be destroyed by ultraviolet light and heat while on surfaces, including countertops, chairs, walls and floors. Last year, mechanical and aerospace engineering professor Tomonari Furukawa designed a roving robot that can move about hazardous areas, and he recently realized that adding UV and heat lamps to it could make it into a decontamination device that could be used in medical clinics, supermarkets and other businesses. "In response to the pandemic of COVID-19, we began to work on the virus decontamination robot, since we had recently demonstrated in a contest that our robot can complete a large number of tasks in a disaster scenario, such as firefighting," said Furukawa. "We knew we could use our state-of-the-art technology right away for robotic decontamination."