The Colombian scientist behind a disinfection robot that revolutionizes the world of technology

PlanToGo, is a system created to intelligently grow shrub-type plants such as lettuce, cherry tomato, and more. [Foto: Cortesía de Octopus Force]

While the world was paralyzed due to the pandemic, in Cali, Valle del Cauca, Lorena Valencia, a Colombian scientist, gave the form of a robot to an idea that seemed only from science fiction films: create a disinfection device to leave the spaces 99.9% free of fungi, bacteria and viruses, including COVID-19.

In the laboratory of the technological center that Valencia runs today – he says – he spent several months of confinement with his team to carry out all possible tests and make the invention a reality that would initially help clinics, health centers, hotels and Colombian government entities and other countries to disinfect their facilities, reduce the contagion of their personnel and even lower the rates of job desertion as a result of the fear that the health crisis unleashed.

“I am convinced that Colombia, a country classified as third world, can have technological sovereignty without the need to depend on other countries so that its industry can rise from prostration and reactivate itself thanks to science, technology and innovation,” says the scientist. in an interview with the voice of america.

And that seems to be the case of the DID, an acronym that stands for Disinfection Device, which is the name of this invention developed by his laboratory, Octopus Force, which works with the latest generation UV-C ultraviolet light to clean objects and spaces of the germs transported from one place to another due to the high traffic of people who, due to their jobs, were never able to work remotely.

It was designed as an effective alternative to reduce infection rates long before vaccines helped counteract the devastating effects left by the virus. According to Valencia, its success was such that the United States government even proposed opening a laboratory headquarters in that country to manufacture them en masse.

Impact in Colombia

In addition to her contribution to the field of science in health issues, this inventor acknowledges the satisfaction that comes from witnessing the positive impacts on the production chain of these developments that come from Colombia to the continent and the rest of the world. This means that the suppliers of the equipment are also from Colombia and thus the dependence on other countries to import maintenance services and spare parts is minimal.

According to the scientist, what these dynamics do “is encourage technological development.”

“The man who provides me with the wheels, the lights, the chips that we implant, even the lining, is provided by people (…) mothers who are heads of households. It is a production chain around technological development,” he says.

Another of his most innovative projects is a robotic hydroponic grower that plants more than 250 seeds in an area of ​​50 x 70 cm and produces food with 60% less than the cost of conventional agriculture, without chemicals, without pesticides and without wasting water. .

PlanToGo It is a system created to intelligently grow shrub-type plants such as lettuce, cherry tomatoes, spinach, aromatics and various types of fruits such as strawberries, grapes, blackberries or lemons.

PlanToGo, is a system created to intelligently grow shrub-type plants such as lettuce, cherry tomato, and more. [Foto: Cortesía de Octopus Force]

The advantage of this invention lies in its ability to control everything from the climate, humidity and irrigation to the nutrients that cleanly facilitate the germination and maturation of each species.

With patient and disciplined work, the scientist and her team sow other seeds: the hope of transforming world agriculture, reducing hunger and helping to protect the planet by efficiently saving resources.

This is how Valencia and its technological development center have been recognized at the national level by the Colombian authorities, which allows it to come into contact with research centers in other countries to enable expansion and exchange of knowledge.

From a very young age, Valencia showed curiosity about science and it was her father who cultivated her desire to choose a profession called STEM, which in Colombia registers a ratio of just three women for every seven men graduated in areas of science, technology, engineering or mathematics, according to data from the Colombian Chamber of Electronic Commerce.

Four patents and more than 150 inventions are the result of more than 20 years of studies and research carried out by his team, made up of nearly 180 scientists from multiple disciplines.

These inventions also include the first flight simulator in Colombia, the interiors of the first Colombian electric vehicle made from scratch, and an agricultural bioreactor that helps care for the environment by taking advantage of organic waste in homes.

With 100% Colombian talent and ingenuity, Valencia continues to work with his team on new ideas such as the creation of smart mats, electric motorcycles and a robot to disinfect airplanes, all with the purpose of demonstrating that science can germinate anywhere as long as facilitate the conditions of human life on this planet.

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Written by Editor TLN

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