"Wipe-up bug" prototype scrubs out spots with nanocloth-clad body.
By Robotics Trends Staff - Filed May 26, 2009
Panasonic's Fukitorimushi is designed to spot and scrub dirt autonomously, and recharge itself when power runs low.
Panasonic Corp. demonstrated an autonomous floor-cleaner robot last month at the Tokyo Fiber Senseware exhibition in Italy, which highlights innovative uses of artificial fibers.
Panasonic’s Fukitorimushi, which translates as ‘wipe-up bug” is made of polyester fibers each of which is less than 1/7500th the width of a human hair, according to a report in Slash Gear.
The autonomous unit “sees” using a blue-white light that can identify the difference between a spot of clean floor and dirt. When it spots dirt it flashes a red light and inchworms itself over to scrub out the spot by circling and rubbing with its nanocloth body. The cloth, from Teijin Ltd. needs to be cleaned or replaced occasionally, but the Fukitorimushi can shuffle itself back to its charging station when it runs out of steam.
The cleaning bug is still a prototype; Panasonic has not announced when or if it will ever reach the market.