It was only a matter of time before something crossed a drone with a vacuum cleaner. After all, drones can record photographs and video, while a robotic vacuum cleaner can clean a entire home for us. It stands to reason that soon robotic vacuum cleaners will fly around our homes, vacuuming up dust and debris from floors, while leaving draperies, shelves, and furniture spotlessly clean as well. Robotic vacuum cleaners have been a big hit in the marketplace. As the best vacuum cleaner site CleanInStyle told us the premium brands cost upwards of $400, while a cheap version is under $50. Soon homeowners will be lining up to buy flying robots for their homes, as it’ll mean that they no longer have to personally do any cleaning chores at all. Pretty much any person would jump on board with that.
At a university in Columbia, one industrial-design student has been working on an all-inclusive cleaning solution for our homes. Adrian Perez Zapata has conceptualized an automated cleaning system that he calls “Mab”. Within Mab will be hundreds of mini robots that will be tasked with cleaning a house. Each will be filled with a cleaning solution. Zapata made it to the semifinals in the 2013 Electrolux Design Living Competition. He was one of 20 entrants who made it to the finals.
The 2013 year’s theme was “inspired urban living”. The contest is for under-graduate and graduate students. They submit their designs which focus on a solution. The three main categories they can choose are social cooking, natural air, and effortless cleaning. The user must fill up the Mab’s central core with water and a cleaning solution. The cleaning solution is then distributed to over 908 mini-robots. Each of these mini robots has propellers, much like a drone. The mini-robots then leave the central Mab unit for their mission.
Their mission is to scan the surfaces of a home. Dirty surfaces have cleaning solution poured on them, which is then sucked back inside. To power the mini vacuum cleaner bots, they’ll need to be recharged by solar power that is collected through tiny panels on their wings. This will happen while they’re flying around a room cleaning. Once back at the Mab, the debris would be emptied back into a central core, which the user would then clean out and prep for the next cleaning session. Like robotic vacuum cleaners, the Mab can be preprogrammed, or sent out at any time to clean a room. It would sync with smart devices, notifying the user of issues and stages.
Zapata said it’s his goal to provide a perfectly clean home through a simple process. Thomas Johansson of Electrox Design was impressed by the Mab. He likened it to the collecting of honey by honey bees. Since Zapata ended up being the winner of the 2013 design contest, it will be exciting to see if he can get this design off paper and into production, with help from the grant and the technology of Electrolux.
During the first week of the new year there were many exciting new products revealed at CES 2016 —The Consumer Electronics Show that’s held once a year in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is the year’s biggest technology show. Exciting new products included cars, TVs, and wearables. The products showcased this year included some these should prove to be top sellers for the next eleven months, including many that should prove to be best-sellers at Christmas time. There are also some far-fetched products that never made it out the door, but that’s what makes this show so much fun.
This year consumers got to see high definition televisions, virtual reality equipment, drones, vehicles, and wearable technology. Autos seem to take center stage at the show, so many call it an auto show. The Chevy Bolt is a new electric car that many are eagerly anticipating. It can be driven to a range of 200 miles before needing to be charged up. The VW Microbus may hit markets soon, being a size between a car and the traditional VW van. And most of us have heard about the Google car which apparently needs no driver. BMW is working on a touch interface called AirTouch. Television is always an exciting offering at the show. Samsung offered a TV as part of a smart home where you can control everything from temperature to the security system all through a remote and your TV screen. Smart home stuff was popular at the show. Apple and Google have several products to help us control the gadgets in our home. One of these issues of smart home products is connecting them all together. Samsung, Intel and other manufacturers are working together to see this happen.
Another aspect of the show was wearable devices. The Apple Watch and the Fitbit were popular. VR headsets were popular for games. Some companies are beginning to put tech into clothing such as shirts and jackets, but there is a ways to go before people line up to buy these articles. These items may be built with sensors to discern heart rate, pulse, and more. Sound technology remains popular, particularly for new headphones for smart phones. High end headphones continue to make money. There remains a need for crystal clear sound that can integrate with telephone calls. Many manufacturers are utilizing Apple’s Lightning connector used to connect headphones/microphone to a smart phone, tablet, or computer.
There will be more types of compact rideables available, including skateboards, scooters, and hover boards that are powered by a rechargeable battery. Designers have improved on the length of time required for a battery charge, and length of time these rides can last. Qualcomm debuted its new drone at the show, which promised to be fully autonomous. Other drones were also constantly buzzing around the show, proving to be one of the hottest gifts around. It will be interesting to see how many items will be released in time for the holidays this December.