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Window walking Windoro robot scrubs windows clean

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September 22, 2010

Windoro stays vertical using neodymium magnets

Windoro stays vertical using neodymium magnets

Vacuum cleaning robots like the Roomba, LG Roboking, Electrolux Trilobyte and Neato XV-11 are already on dust patrol in countless homes around the world, saving people from untold hours of drudgery and aching backs. Now researchers at the Pohang Institute of Intelligent Robotics (PIRO) in South Korea have developed a robot that can handle the equally tedious – and often dangerous depending on which floor you live on – task of cleaning windows. Called Windoro, the robot consists of two separate modules that clean the window by spraying detergent and scrubbing away with a series of spinning pads.

Unlike the Stickybot we looked at recently that mimicked gecko biology to scale surfaces including glass, Windoro relies on neodymium magnets that pull the two modules on either side of the window together with enough force to allow it to stay vertical. The researchers chose this method instead of vacuum power because they found it wasn’t as safe or reliable and would require the vacuum to be on at all times just to keep the robot in place.

With the magnets, Windoro will stay on a window from 10 - 25mm (0.39 - 0.98-in) thick, even when powered down. Once in place, Windoro uses distance measuring sensors, attitude determination and collision detection to stay on track as it performs its window washing magic.

The robot reportedly took around 300 million KRW (approx. US$258,500) to develop and the PIRO team plans to release it commercially next year targeted for use in high-rise buildings.

Now that the floor and windows are covered we’re awaiting a vacuuming robot that clings to the ceiling to banish those hard to reach cobwebs.

Via Plastic Pals

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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4 Comments

So, you'll need one for each window? If it's held up by magnets on both sides of the window I don't see it moving from one window to another. It also needs to be refilled whenever it runs out of fluid. I think it is a neat idea with some promise, but am not sure it is ready for prime time yet.

CeridianMN
22nd September, 2010 @ 09:35 am PDT

Moving from floor to floor, or sideways across window dividers, especially on buildings with deeply recessed windows (like the WTC towers had) would be a problem with this robot.

It would require at least two of the inside units and people to move them from window to window and floor to floor. The window washers' union is safe from being made obsolete.

Facebook User
22nd September, 2010 @ 03:06 pm PDT

Possibly the units are lowered and controlled by cables or poles from the ground or roof tops? This is the only way I can see how they can be moved to separate windows. Put a small camera on a cable to monitor movement, remote controls; raise to refill, and you've got a window cleaning business with almost no danger.

Elizabeth Hagan
22nd September, 2010 @ 11:59 pm PDT

The video at the link shows the units being put in place by hand, on windows accessible from the inside. Not applicable to high-rises with sealed windows, etc. Also, wouldn't work on double-glazed windows, I assume.

Brian Hall
30th September, 2011 @ 04:33 pm PDT
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