Tag Archives: Vacuums

iRobot Announces the Scooba 230

Tiny iRobot Scooba 230

The new Scooba 230 has been shrunk and is now only 6.5 inches wide. It is still 3.5 inches high. This change in dimensions is obviously so that it can navigate the tighter areas in bathrooms. Most specifically behind sink pedestals and toilets. It looks like the Scooba 230 will retain all of its other abilities, but the area it can cover before a refresh has also shrunk to 150 square feet. So yeah, it’s probably going to be more of a bathroom appliance (although that is enough to get my kitchen as well). The Scooba 230 has the same three-stage cleaning system as its older, larger bretheren. It washes, scrubs, squeegees, and vacuums your floor.

These new robots will be available in Spring of 2011.

iRobot Scooba 230

Dyson Announces the City DC26

Dyson DC26 Vacuum CleanerWell, it’s not a robot, but it’s a curious vacuum cleaner, and seeing as how the Dyson robot vacuum cleaner (the DC06) has yet to appear, maybe now that there’s a really tiny Dyson, the DC06 is closer to becoming a reality?

The DC26 is the smallest and lightest Dyson ever created, and I guess that’s saying something because the company has a reputation for building huge vacuum cleaners. According to Dyson it was designed with Japanese homes in mind, and is a snap to maneuver and operate. Obviously, this would also be a great gadget for hip city people who live in apartments or condos, because it won’t take up much storage.

This tiny vacuum uses Dyson’s patented Root Cyclone technology, which has been proven to be better at sucking up dust than any other vacuum. Root Cyclone technology is what makes Dyson vacuum cleaners so effective. Unlike conventional vacuums which use bags, the Root Technology uses several levels of centrifugal force to spin dust, dirt, hair and debris out of the air. as a result, they don’t loose suction as a result of the bag (or filter) filling up. The DC26 also features the new V-Ball technology which makes for smooth rolling, easy maneuvering, and also helps keep the cleaner head at the ideal height from the floor to optimize suction.

So if you’re looking at the photo and wondering how the vacuum is going to work, it’s a canister vacuum cleaner. So the part in the photo is what you plug a hose into. Then there are various attachments, including a cleaning head that you can use to vacuum with. In Japan, there are three models. They are the DC26 Turbinehead Entry, the DC26 Turbinehead Complete and the DC26 Motorhead Complete

Apparently, to make such a small vacuum cleaner with Dyson’s Root Cyclone vacuum, the designers couldn’t just miniaturize the parts and expect it to work. The engineers found that they needed to balance all aspects of the vacuum cleaner, its weight, size, and durability, with the amount of space that is needed to maintain the airflow needed for cyclone cleaning. To do this, Dyson says:

“It took us five years to painstakingly compress and rebuild every single component before we had a machine that was a third smaller than its predecessor, yet could still tackle dirt like bigger machines.”

This vacuum cleaner won the Japanese 2009 Good Design Awards Gold Award in the Living category. The cleaner weighs a little more than seven and a half pounds, and will fit in a space the size of an A4 sheet of paper. The exact dimensions are: Width 320 mm — Height 266 mm — Depth 205 mm. Apparently, it’s also amazingly durable, having survived being dropped on a hard floor over 5000 times (presumably from more than a few inches) and also being banged against a wall 10,000 times. That’s quite a bit of abuse. The Dyson City DC 26 is already available in Japan and will be sold in the U.K. soon. The U.K. price will be the equivalent of around $400. I won’t be buying this one, but feel the need to repeat that I’m really dreaming of one of these powered by a robot. Yeah! Let’s go Dyson robot vacuum cleaner!

In the Future, a Robot Gecko Will Clean Your Windows

Gecko Cleaning Robot on Glass Surface

Serbot AG, a Swiss robotics firm is designing what looks like a Scooba robot with legs for cleaning large solar panels. To accomplish this goal, they used parts manufactured by Festo. I don’t usually get into large pictures on this site, but this thing is really cool looking, and it’s rare to find such a cool looking thing that is also a cleaning robot.

I’ve never thought about this, but apparently keeping large solar panels clean is a real pain and can be dangerous. They get covered with leaves, dust, pollen, pollution, and everything else that falls on them. Solar farms often have to clean them at night, and I guess it’s not as simple as turning a hose on them. The photovoltaic panels are delicate, slippery, and usually tilted at an angle. As more and more solar farms are built with more and more solar panels, cleaning them is going to be a real issue.

This sounds like a great place to apply some robot elbow-grease. You just build (or buy) an army of these little suction-cup footed robots and equip them with brushes, wipers, and maybe a spray bottle and a vacuum hose? The cleaning robots are made with twenty suction-cup feet on two kidney-shaped carrier frames. As you can see from the photos, the carrier frames are chain tracks, which are attached by a bridge. I would guess that’s where you connect the cleaning devices. To move, the robot rotates the feet around the carrier frames. It looks to me like the feet in the center of the device are the ones that will be engaged with the surface it is cleaning.

Gekko Cleaning Robot Closeup

The robot is designed to know that it has reached the end of a solar panel by feel. Basically, if it can’t get a grip, it withdraws. While this sounds like a cool idea, I wonder why they can’t use something more sophisticated? They solved the problem of how to keep suction by making sure the robot is always moving. The feet which are in contact with the surface at any given time only keep suction for two seconds. This makes it so the robots can travel without using so much energy to hang on.

Photo Source: Festo