This portable robot cleans hotel beds for frequent-flying germophobes


  • TECH
  • Sunday, 24 Feb 2019

A new pocket-sized sanitising and disinfecting robot has been developed with the sole purpose of zapping whatever germs and bacteria are lurking in your hotel room bed. — dpa

A bizarre new robot is able to drive itself around your hotel bed, zapping bacteria and germs, navigating itself between your sheets on its tiny wheels. But do you really need it?

Holiday essentials: sun lotion, towels, passport, mini germ-blasting robot. No, you didn’t read that wrong.

A new pocket-sized sanitising and disinfecting robot has been developed with the sole purpose of zapping whatever germs and bacteria are lurking in your hotel room bed.

How does it work? According to its developers – a robotics team at US-based Ventur Studio – the CleanseBot uses ultraviolet germicidal irradiation – more simply known as UV light – to destroy germs and bacteria.

Small enough to stow in your suitcase, the gadget takes around four hours to charge and can manage three hours of cleaning on a single charge. Depending on the size of your bed, it will finish its job in either 30- or 60-minute germ-zapping cycles.

In the “under-blanket” mode, the cleaner can roam around your mattress of its own free will on tiny wheels. There's also a “handheld” mode that lets you clean by hand.

The robot uses 18 sensors to navigate and stop itself from getting tangled in the sheets or falling off the edge of the bed.

CleanseBot inventors Tom Yang and Cecilia Hsu say they were inspired to develop the germ-zapping device after checking into a world-renowned hotel and finding an “unsanitary” bed inside.

But are hotel beds really that dirty? A 2012 University of Houston study found an average of 112.7 colony-forming units of bacteria per cubic centimetre in 19 different hotel room surfaces – that's a lot. However, the study found that TV remote controls, not beds, were the dirtiest thing in the room.

Whether or not you think it will prevent you from traveller's diarrhoea, hyper-cleanliness on the go won't come cheap. The CleanseBot has a planned price of US$259 (RM1,056) once the crowdfunding campaign has raised enough start-up funds. The Kickstarter page has already raised over US$1.1mil (RM4.48mil). – dpa
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