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.