Team Homer/University of Koblenz-Landau
There are people in this world who find the cleaning process to be relaxing. But even among those strange creatures, there’s one room that is almost always an exception: The bathroom.
Home to all the grimiest surfaces, the bathroom is a germ center filled with stains and smudges to make a stomach turn. It’s the area that often looks the dirtiest and smells the worst.
So what if we could have a robot do the cleaning for us?
Thanks to insightful people who designed a competition for the World Robot Summit in Japan, a bunch of brilliant techies had to think through a particularly mundane situation: How to clean a toilet. But instead of stooping to their hands and knees, they created robots to wipe water off a toilet rim and pick trash off the bathroom floor.
One team was particularly successful, attaching a sponge to their robot’s appendage.
So is that it? Does this mean the end of bathroom cleaning as we know it?
Not so fast
Unfortunately, a video shows the robot moving at a snail’s pace, wiping the tiniest amount of water possible per second. The speed alone isn’t a huge problem; just as robot vacuums slowly glide across our floors, robot cleaners could take their time. It’s not like they have somewhere else to be.
But the robot’s intimidating size might prove more of a deterrent, especially in studios or one bedrooms that can hardly hold a person. And, as expected, a toilet-cleaning robot doesn’t come cheap.
In the end, it seems unlikely that robot-kind will replace humanity for all our shower-scrubbing, toilet-cleaning chores. But that doesn’t mean we can’t dream!