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Windoro Window-Cleaning Robot Demo

This robot wants to do for your windows what Roomba and Scooba do for your floors

2 min read
Windoro Window-Cleaning Robot Demo

windoro robot

In our best robots of CES roundup last week, it appears that we left out an interesting offering: the Windoro window-cleaning robot from South Korea.

That's right. This robot wants to do for your windows what Roomba and Scooba do for your floors. It's quite a sight to see this gizmo magically crawling on glass.

But there's no magic, of course. There's magnetism. The robot consists of two modules that go on opposite sides of the window and hold each other using permanent magnets. 

The mighty iRobot, with its best-selling Roomba vacuums and innovative Scooba floor-washing bots, dominates the cleaning-robot market. But now Ilshim Global, a small firm from Gyeongsan, South Korean, wants to claim a new part of that market -- the vertical segment, so to speak.

Unveiled late last year, the Windoro robot was a joint development between Ilshim and the Pohang Institute of Intelligent Robotics, or PIRO. The machine measures about 20 centimeters (7.9 inches) on a side and weighs in at 2.7 kilograms (6 pounds). 

The Windoro robot can clean windows 6 to 25 millimeters thick (0.2 to 1 inch). And no, you won't see it hanging on skyscrapers -- its creators say it's designed for cleaning windows at homes and stores.

One of the robot's two modules works as the navigation unit. It uses accelerometers to navigate and bump sensors to detect obstacles and window frames. The other module is the cleaning unit, which has four spinning microfiber pads and a reservoir that dispenses detergent.

The robot first moves up and down and left and right to determine the dimensions of the window. It then follows a zigzag pattern to cover the entire surface, moving at an average speed of 8 centimeters per second and returning to the starting point when it's finished.

One battery charge lasts about 2 hours, and the robot can clean a surface of up to 12 square meters (130 square feet).

The Windoro robot will first go on sale in South Korea, followed by Europe, over the next couple of months. It should be available in the United States in April and will retail for about US $400.

UPDATE 1/19: Corrected maximum surface area robot can clean.

Photo and video: Josh Romero & Joe Calamia/IEEE Spectrum 

The Conversation (0)

The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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