“Heathrobots” Join COVID-19 Fight at London’s Heathrow

Robots delivering food and supplies to quarantined COVID-19 patients in Chinese hotels, while indisputably strange and sci-fi, makes perfect sense. Now robots, outfitted with virus-killing ultraviolet (UV) light systems, have been enlisted at London Heathrow airport in the fight against the spread of COVID-19, the BBC reports. Here, the short, rounded robots — which bring to mind R2D2 — cruise the terminals and enter areas like restrooms (when unoccupied, of course) to disinfect them with powerful UV light (which is also harmful to human skin, hence the provision restrooms be unoccupied.) In the video below, the host describes the airport’s other virus-fighting measures, including retrofitting escalators with UV-light sanitation systems and placing anti-viral coatings on high-touch areas such as escalator handrails and lift buttons.

Mythical Luxury

The Waldorf-Astoria
A model interior of one of the new residences

Thanks to its outsized footprint, grand design and high profile, the Waldorf-Astoria, a super-opulent lodging/residence in the heart of Manhattan, has always carried a certain mythical quality. Sitting dominantly on NYC’s Park Avenue — a thoroughfare synonymous with high society — the Waldorf-Astoria has truly been a place to “see and be seen.” As a lodging of choice for every sitting U.S. president since Herbert Hoover (with the exception of current Chief Executive Donald Trump), this Art Deco gem is steeped in history. The building closed in 2017 for a US$1-billion renovation, but when it reopens it will offer guest rooms as well as residences for sale (studios starting at US$1.7 million). In a recent post by the Financial Times, architecture critic Edwin Heathcote looks back on the storied landmark, sharing tales such as one about a president who was secretly brought into the building — car and all — by an elevator connecting the hotel with a rail track below. If you have the money to make the Waldorf-Astoria part of your personal history, you won’t have too much longer to wait — the renovation is scheduled to be complete in 2021.