Thursday, 21 November 2013

Inside The Winbot - Robotic Window Cleaner

How it works. Click to enlarge.
Inside the Winbot 730, a Robotic Window Cleaner: If you don’t do windows, fear not: there’s a robot for you. The Winbot from Ecovacs is designed to automatically clean windows and other smooth glass surfaces with the push of a button. The Winbot works much like other cleaning robots, including those built by iRobot that zip around your floor. When the Winbot is placed on glass, it figures out the size of the surface, then travels back and forth to clean it.

Though the device needs to be plugged in and put in place by hand, it functions largely free of human intervention. The window cleaning robots come in two options. Both models, the 710 and 730, work on framed glass. The more-expensive 730 model also is equipped with a frameless window detection system so you can clean mirrors and glass doors, according to Ecovacs, the manufacturer of the Winbot. The 730 below costs $400.

Underbelly of the Winbot.
Window Cleaning Robot Alters Your Views In Minutes: Dog breath vapored and finger printed windows, shaving creamed and water spotted mirrors are irritating, but seldom rise to the level of must clean more than monthly. Actually, I rarely clean the bay windows or sliding door glass unless company comes and the streaking that remains makes me wish I'd left them dirty.  But if I had a robot to clean the buggers, it might just change my view about the whole process. Alas, here's the Winbot by Ecovacs....A professional window washing robot!

Yes, the Winbot is clinging to the window by itself. Its suction cups, vacuum pump, and anti-slip treads allow it to remain vertical and slide effortlessly across your window.  Here's the 'mysterious underbelly' of the bot... You can see the suction cups and the tread.  Now look at the larger micropad in the front of the bot; that, along with the Winbot's own cleaning solution, washes your windows.  And the smaller micropad on the rear side is what dries your windows. No streaks.  Windows clean in a matter of minutes and the bot even revisits more stubborn streaks. The Winbot comes with a 10-foot electrical cord for operation; in addition, a suction-backed battery pack is included in case of a power outage (so the bot doesn't fall off the window).

For more on the Ecovacs Winbot see:

Mr. Savadian said that since his company invented the Winbot, he no longer does his own windows.

Robot cleans up competition: A robotic window cleaner invented by a teenager has cleaned up at the Bright Spark Awards. The contraption created by Sohail Abdulla in his Mt Roskill basement laboratory took the top prize at the awards this month. Sohail started working on the robot two years ago after seeing his father struggling to clean the windows because of back and knee pain. "The idea is to develop it to clean high-rise buildings. A lot of people have lost their lives cleaning the windows up high," the 18-year-old says.

Last year's version won him a third prize in the Bright Spark Awards and separately he scored the American Ambassador Outstanding Award at the Realise the Dream award ceremony. His win saw him jetting to Phoenix, Arizona, to take part in the INTEL Science and Engineering Fair. "This new version is completely different, I've built it again from scratch," he says. "I've tried to make the size of the device smaller and decrease the weight."

The revised robot is now comprised of two units. The control panel component lets the user move the device and has an LCD that monitors progress of the clean on a little map. The cleaning unit attaches to the window and moves across using a series of suckers. Two squeegees on the unit tackle the dirt and dust and a final wipe is done by a microfibre cloth.

The Bright Sparks judges were impressed with Sohail's design, which integrates software, electronics and mechanical engineering elements. As the winner of the 17 years and above category he receives a $1000 cash prize. Taking the Supreme Award means he will get mentoring from Baldwin's Intellectual Property. In his quest to improve the robot the next step will be giving it the ability to traverse over ledges.

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