It’s been called a germ-zapping robot — and there’s a passing resemblance to R2D2 if you squint your eyes.

But this rolling disinfection device from Xenex Disinfection Services is being used to keep patients safe from dangerous pathogens.

University Health System is acquiring three of the devices and plans to deploy two of them in patient rooms, critical care areas and operating rooms throughout University Hospital — typically as one patient leaves and before the next one moves in. A third one, obtained through a grant from the city of San Antonio to Xenex, will be used in the Cystic Fibrosis Clinic at the Robert B. Green campus downtown, where patients are particularly vulnerable to infections.

A local government-owned hospital is the only other San Antonio health facility using the device.

The Xenex room disinfection system uses a powerful, pulsed-xenon ultraviolet light to kill all sorts of infectious organisms. One study showed the treatment was 20 times more effective than scrubbing with traditional chemical cleansers.