Automated Domestic Cleaning Devices


There's been fantastic progress in the area of automated or Smart Homes. Automation gives the owner control over such things as the home's climate, lighting, security and irrigation systems. Some of these homes even have theaters and entertainment systems that would rival any movie theater or concert hall.

Although these luxuries are nice, there is one luxury that all homeowners approach with anticipation, the self-cleaning home. Owning a home entails much more than automated lighting or a home theater. All of these things have one thing in common, they must be cleaned.

There's a wide choice of automated robots that can help us with some basic chores such as cleaning the floors. These devices can be set to perform a task and then be left unattended to accomplish their missions. They even have the capability to recharge themselves so they can continue indefinitely serving their masters.

These cleaning robots work using sensors, microprocessors, motors and guidance systems. Sensors are used to detect conditions around the device. Microprocessors interpret the information from the sensors and tell the robot what to do. Motors, solenoids and actuators make the robot move and carry out its tasks. Safety mechanisms are built in for emergencies or malfunctions.

The contenders in the field can be divided into two categories, scrubbers and vacuums. Some of the leading manufacturers are iRobot, Evolution Robotics, and Neato.

Floor Scrubbers

The Evolution Robotics' Mint is a robot in the scrubber category. This robotic wonder has the ability to sweep and mop floors. It uses damp or pre-moistened cloths to accomplish the mopping task. These type robots have the ability of tucking themselves out of the way for charging then rising for the scheduled daily or weekly cleaning routine.

This unit is equipped with a proprietary NorthStar guidance system. It utilizes battery powered light beacons to guide it around the room. The beacons are placed to create a path and boundaries for cleaner to stay within. When the unit has determined it has thoroughly cleaned a room it will proceed to the next room.

Vacuum Cleaners

Roomba is a line of vacuum type cleaners manufactured by iRobot. The top of the line model can roam about autonomously cleaning the home going from room to room. It also comes with a remote so it can be controlled from anywhere in the home, attacking those hard to get to areas.

The unit's cleaning heads adjust automatically for floors or carpet. It has various brushes and filters and a dirt collection bin that can be easily and quickly emptied. It also has a sensor that detects different types of debris. Determining whether the debris is large or small or if it's soft or hard is a breeze for this machine.

Like many other robotic cleaners, it uses a beacon system for guidance around the home. It also has a unique anti-tangle feature. Whenever it senses a tangle it reverses its brushes and moves backwards.

Window Cleaners

Robots that wash windows is another goal of domestic home automation. There's a window cleaning robot available called the Winbot 7. Just stick the device on your glass window pane and turn it on. This robot will measure the pane and automatically start its cleaning task.

It can work wirelessly using battery power. It will also run on power provided by a safety cable which is recommended for second story and above window cleaning operations. The robot uses a vacuum pump to hold it to the glass and let it move around automatically. It uses a moistened cleaning pad, a squeegee and a final rear pad for drying the glass. Cleaning is accomplished in one pass.

Winbot 7 is designed to work on smooth glass with no etching or grooves that can cause the suction to fail. If you have large windows this robot may be the solution, but with smaller windows, it must be manually moved to the next pane.

As technology advances, even with its shortfalls, mundane tasks are being conquered by automation. These small robots do indeed give us more free time to pursue the things we enjoy.

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