2014 Paris Motor Show highlights

Robo-Washer all-in-one hand washer and dryer aims to be the next great bathroom revolution

By

May 1, 2014

The Robo-Washer in action

The Robo-Washer in action

Image Gallery (4 images)

Remember how much fun it was to use the Dyson Airblade the first time you saw one? The Robo-Washer steps up the game by doing the washing part for you as well. 360-degree jets of high pressure soapy water are followed by a blast of drying air to give you an all-in-one touchless hand cleaning station with no mess … Even if the prototype does look a bit like a doggy bowl on an apple crate.

Here’s my rough thinking in a public bathroom: I know mine is clean, no other area gets so much attention in the shower. But I don’t wanna be touching anything that’s touched a thing that’s touched yours. That would be icky.

The Dyson Airblade felt like a very cool step into the future when it was first launched in 2006. And a lot of places now combine it with hands-free faucets and soap dispensers to minimize the possibility of picking up somebody else’s bacteria.

But this device goes a fair bit further. The Robo-Washer is like an automatic carwash for your hands. Plonk your hands in the hole, and rub them together as they’re sprayed with 360-degree soapy water at high pressure. Keep rubbing them together as it goes into a dry cycle, and Bob’s your uncle – end-to-end hand washing completed in a single device, totally touch-free and contained in a kind of bucket drain so there’s no mess or water spillage possible.

The Robo-Washer prototype - construction just completed

Its highly enthusiastic inventor Donald Vitez, of New Jersey, points out that if you eliminate the need for dryers on your bathroom walls, you can fit in a few more Robo-Washer units than you could with sinks.

There does appear to be one problem though. In the demonstration video on his Kickstarter page (which you can see below), in which the Robo-Washer is shown in operation, it looks like it takes a full minute and a half to run you through the whole process.

Doubtless this is probably how long it takes to clean your hands properly, but it feels like an eternity to watch. Put it this way: the Airblade is said to dry your hands in under 10 seconds, and even that feels like a long time from a device that’s supposed to be the future. My suspicion is that after one or two novelty runs, a lot of folk are going to look at the Robo-Washer and decide they’ve got better things to do with their 90 seconds.

Either way, the opportunity is there. If the Robo-Washer becomes the next big thing in bathroom technology there’s a gigantic market for it. At the time of writing, the Robo-Washer Kickstarter has a total of ten dollars pledged out of US$100,000 to get the device out of the doggy bowl prototype stage and into production.

We wish Vitez and his many ventures all the best and look forward to sticking our mitts in one of his devices.

Sources: Robo-Washer, Kickstarter

About the Author
Loz Blain Loz has been one of Gizmag's most versatile contributors since 2007. Joining the team as a motorcycle specialist, he has since covered everything from medical and military technology to aeronautics, music gear and historical artefacts. Since 2010 he's branched out into photography, video and audio production, and he remains the only Gizmag contributor willing to put his name to a sex toy review. A singer by night, he's often on the road with his a cappella band Suade.   All articles by Loz Blain
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19 Comments

From the video "A slip and fall accident" LOL. C'mon be serious. In 44 years I've never seen a slip and fall in front of a public or private sink because of over-usage of soap/water

Rocky Stefano
1st May, 2014 @ 06:44 am PDT

I want to address the comment made by Loz about the cycle time.

Once the unit enters into the drying cycle, the remaining cycle time is controlled by the user. The drying cycle will continue until the user removes their hands from the unit at which time Robo-Washer will shut off ready for the next person.

The next unit to be developed will significantly reduce the drying time. which will in-turn reduce the overall cycle time. The width of the next unit to be developed will be reduced significantly from the prototype shown in the video. This permits multiple Robo-Washer units to be positioned in the space now occupied by the conventional sink.

In addition to its advanced splash free and self cleaning design, the Robo-Washer as demonstrated in the video on kickstarter, massages your hands as you use it. In other videos posted on my youtube channel people are seen laughing while washing their hands due to the massaging effect that Robo-Washer provides.

Robo-Washer: Hand Washing Reinvented

www.Robo-Washer.com

Facebook User
1st May, 2014 @ 07:10 am PDT

And if I want to splash my face?

Mark A
1st May, 2014 @ 07:27 am PDT

In response to Rocky Stefano. Are you a personal injury attorney?

Facebook User
1st May, 2014 @ 07:50 am PDT

I have an interesting perspective on this product.

Over 20 years ago, I worked as an engineer for a company that developed and manufactured a product very much like this one. It was focused on providing automated hand washing to the restaurant industry. The product never took off, because health depts. didn't mandate it and was perceived to be an unnecessary cost.

This company employed the expertise of industrial designers and produced a well thought out and polished design.

Obviously this unit is a prototype. My first reaction to this product is, to be candid, that the ergonomics are very poor.

There are a number of issues with the position and orientation of the washing area causing unnatural and awkward body positioning by the users.

If the developer of this product hopes to be successful, they should research proper ergonomics and redesign the product.

The internal components of the product may benefit from redesign also, but those can't be seen in the video.

It's a decent concept, but will people pay for it.

JohnnyA
1st May, 2014 @ 08:58 am PDT

Why use 'robo' in the name? Sell this to Dyson and move on.

hdm
1st May, 2014 @ 09:07 am PDT

Your dryer is revolutionary,and a very ecologically minded design.IMO. as a designer, can the entry point be angled towards the user?

Drifter
1st May, 2014 @ 09:08 am PDT

I don't know about Dyson, but the Hitachi and Mitsubishi air blade hand dryers were pretty nice in Japan back when I visited in 2003.

hoquiamite
1st May, 2014 @ 09:48 am PDT

Most of the world's population still doesn't even have running water... are they going to go straight to this? Most of those don't have electricity,either... While part of the world advances, over half the world still languishes,

lacking even the basic aspects of living the other side takes entirely for granted.

I am not liberal or conservative, Socialist or Capitalist- I am just looking at the obvious disparity here on this planet. This is something that matters to me and is reflected in products &d evelopments like this.

What a REAL revolution in personal water usage would be would entail better purification, desalination or distribution/management of

water for those who don't have access to clean & safe water.

This is NOT a tangent because a product like this is NOT a "revolution"- it is simply more convenient. A person living in the developed areas can use a conventional hand dryer to gain everything offered here cheaper&easier without re-modeling.

Look at our species objectively-

Any other race advanced enough to travel across the Interstellar Gap would most likely look at us and say, "Well,if they treat each other like this- how would they treat another race that stood between them and new resources?"

"Let's just check back on them later... if they survive."

There are variations on this theme, of course,

but I can easily see that there is a point in the technological development of a species where they will either:

1.Self-destruct, partially or totally, lapsing into anarchy or genocide.

2.Come to maturity as a race and be able to

remember the past while creating a sustainable future, on their home world and any other point within reach.

3.Manage to partially escape a failing world while leaving most of their race behind and take off for new worlds to "slash&burn" and "divide or conquer".

We are at the threshold and we are honestly closer to 1 or 3 than 2.

I would like to say that we are perfect and getting better but we are devouring this world's resources while tremendously polluting it. This is basically just a simple combination of existing gadgets- It just bothers me that it is considered to be "revolutionary". We need to be more realistic as to our actual use of science.

"It has become painfully obvious to me that man has entirely too much power... and to make matters worse, he wants even more and he can't even handle what he already has!"

-Albert Einstein

c.1950's

(paraphrased)

Griffin
1st May, 2014 @ 11:12 am PDT

Sometimes I come up with product ideas and decide they probably aren't worth pursuing and then I see other products people spend money to launch and I think I should probably pursue some of mine.

I'd rather work with established companies and make like 0.01% on the product but have them sort out things like supply and distribution and I'm not real sure how best to go about it but if I call patent attorneys they will extort more money from me than I stand to gain in profit. I have 2 or 3 things I want to do but I'm afraid if I just call up a company and pitch to them and they tell me no I'll see them launch my product in 2 years on their own without crediting me.

Daishi
1st May, 2014 @ 12:34 pm PDT

how much energy to wash and dry my hands ?

ash
1st May, 2014 @ 06:21 pm PDT

in Response to Drifter, The concept drawing clearly illustrates a more ergonomic design. The prototype that you see in the video was engineered, plumbed, wired and programmed by one man (me) in just 3 weeks from start to finish.

Now imagine what I could have done with more time and money.

There is much more to Robo-Washer than meets the eye.

Unlike conventional hot air hand dryers, there are no inefficient electric heating coils used. The heat is produced by passive means and is also self regulating to eliminate the possibility of the air getting too hot resulting in burns to one's hands.

Unlike the Dyson air blade and the xelerator high velocity hand dryers which emit an ungodly high pitched sound that can be damaging to your ears, Robo-Washer envelopes your hands in a massaging fashion with warm air. Robo-Washer is quiet in comparison. You can actually have a conversation with others at normal speaking volume while using the Robo-Washer. Try that with the accelerated air hand dryers!

In the next iteration of Robo-Washer, the overall cycle time will be drastically reduced. The prototype seen in the video and unveiled at Maker Faire NY 2013 would have already demonstrated it, but there is only so much you can do in three weeks.

Regardless of whether my kickstarter campaign is successful, I am forging ahead with the next generation model.

You can decide for yourself If you want to be a part of it.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1835891285/robo-washer-hand-washing-reinvented

Robo-Washer: Hand Washing Reinvented

www.robo-washer.com

Facebook User
1st May, 2014 @ 07:23 pm PDT

Not impressed, we have a mechanical one in our local toilet that has been in uses for over five year, exactly the same advantages. Also when the soap comes with the water your hands are not rinsed and end up slippery even after drying, also I have not found a air hand dryer that does not turn off before you hands are properly dry, so you end up finishing them off on your clothing.

JSSFB
2nd May, 2014 @ 12:53 am PDT

in response to JSSFB.

"We have a mechanical one in our local toilet." A mechanical what exactly?

The soap is not dispensed with water. That would obviously present a problem. Your hands are indeed clean and thoroughly dry, this even after coating your hands in honey. How can you draw such conclusions when you haven't even used the Robo-Washer?

Robo-Washer will not turn off until you remove your hands from the unit,

Facebook User
2nd May, 2014 @ 08:32 am PDT

Some have determined from watching the video on my kickstarter page, that it takes 90 seconds from start to finish to wash the lady's hands.

This is not true. I had her leave her hands inside until I motioned for her to remove them in order to narrate the video and provide information about what was happening inside the unit. The actual cycle time is programmable (can be reduced) and is affected by the temperature of the water. The colder the water, the longer the drying time. Robo-Washer is programmed to continue drying until one's hands are removed, so the user controls the overall cycle time, not the machine.

Facebook User
2nd May, 2014 @ 09:33 am PDT

One of the local Restaurant chains has automatic hand washers very similar to this idea, except this dry's the hands. One of the things they do instead of hiding it in the bathroom is that it's actually in the dining area so everyone can see it in action. If you really want to advertise this and have people talking about it you might want to consider that. The place that has the automatic hand washers is a BBQ place so people are eating with their hands and need to wash their hands. There is often a line to the automatic hand washer and kids love it (they also get a sticker). My nephews kept wanting to go wash their hands and it's almost impossible to get them to do that at home.

Here's a video of that on in action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T5Ajn3eH-g

You will notice that it's more ergo-metric and only takes about 20 seconds, but it sounds like they are addressing that.

I wish you the best of luck but I think Kickstarter is the wrong location for this since Kickstarter is better for consumer products and this is a commercial product.

Eric G
2nd May, 2014 @ 09:33 am PDT

Eric,

That is a very good application for Robo-Washer. At its unveiling, Robo-Washer drew droves of people to our tent. Everyone, man, woman and child loved using it.

There honestly was not one negative comment from anyone of the hundreds of people who washed their hands with Robo-washer during Maker Faire NY 2013. Many reported that it massaged there hands as they used it.

There are a lot of hands that need cleaning in a BBQ place!

Facebook User
2nd May, 2014 @ 10:44 am PDT

I have added a drawing of the Robo-Washer designed for indoor use by children. It resembles a robot. check it out on kickstarter.

The design also addresses the concerns that some of you have in regard to ergonomics.

FutorInventor
2nd May, 2014 @ 10:59 pm PDT

Consumes Just One Cup of Water Per User Consistently

In a recent test, Robo-Washer consistently consumed only one cup of water per user, this compared to washing hands, by conventional means which consumed 6-1/2 to 10 cups per user. Tests were conducted coating multiple test subjects hands with honey.

Facebook User
9th May, 2014 @ 06:52 pm PDT
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