According to the Winona Daily News, Paul Van Eijl of Winona, Minnesota has created a robot called Ice Jet that uses GPS coordinates to control multiple robots to resurface an ice rink in about a minute. The report says a traditional Zamboni takes 10-15 minutes to resurface the ice.
"It's really doing the same thing," Van Eijl tells the Winona Daily News. "You’re just basically making it eight times as efficient." He claims the Ice Jet also uses less water, which will also cut costs.
So the Ice Jet is quicker, faster and cheaper than a Zamboni, says Eijl's partner Kevin Christ, but tradition plays a major role in hockey. It's the biggest challenge the Ice Jet faces, both engineers admit. "Nostalgia only goes so far before cost savings take over,” says Christ.
The Winona Daily News reports that the Ice Jet will be "electrically powered and will recycle the ice collected by melting it in the machine and using the water to resurface the hockey rink."
Even at the prototype stages, NHL teams, robotics companies, and engineers have all agreed the Ice Jet could be the future of ice resurfacing.
Tradition might be the only problem.