Panthers prepare for fans on Sunday with 'germ-zapping robot'

1:35 PM ET

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Imagine R2-D2 rolling around Bank of America Stadium zapping COVID-19 and other germs on everything from helmets to toilets with a high-intensity ultraviolet light, the way Luke Skywalker would zap a stormtrooper with a blaster.

That’s basically what the Carolina Panthers are doing to ensure as much as possible a virus-free environment as the stadium prepares on Sunday to host fans for the first time this season.

The Xenex LightStrike Robot, billed as a “germ-zapping robot,” looks a lot like the R2-D2 robot from “Star Wars.” The Panthers purchased three of them early in the pandemic — at a cost of a little over $100,000 each — to help assure players, coaches and other employees that they would be working in a safe environment.

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Now the robots will be used to make the 5,240 fans attending Sunday’s game against Arizona feel safer by zapping germs in restrooms, concession areas, suites and other areas.

“What you put in an operating room at a

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