Window walking Windoro robot scrubs windows clean
By Darren Quick
September 22, 2010
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.
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