5 April 2011 by James Hayes
GEKKO makes its way up, down, and along via an array of a vacuum feet which rotate on dual trapezoid-shaped geared belt drives. As equipped with a rotating brush, GEKKO was designed for the cleaning of large glass facades; its maker - Serbot, another Swiss robotics outfit - reckon that it can also turn its little suckers to functional tests of solar panels, and construction inspection using an on-board video cam.
The unit on display here seemed to make rather slow progress as it hissed and plopped its way across the demonstration surface on the Serbot stand, yet the potential for use in risky environments was evident. But what about its longer-term potential potential for replacing human window cleaners, say?
Heading home I happened to pass a window cleaner up a ladder who was squeegeeing away at a second story skylight, so I took the opportunity to ask him whether he thought a robot could do that job as well as he could.
"Können saubere fenster eines roboters besser, als ich können sie? Nie!" he called down. "Und was geschieht, wenn der roboter weg von der strichleiter fällt? Tausenden Euro vergeudet!" (Can a robot clean windows better than I can? Never! What happens if the robot falls off the ladder? Thousands of euros wasted!)
Unfortunately turning round to answer me then caused the window cleaner to loose his footing, and the poor bloke slid several rungs down the ladder, giving his shins a nasty scrape. I helped him to a nearby branch of Das Boots (the German retail chemist chain) to get patched up, then fled in the direction of my hotel.
Edited: 06 April 2011 at 03:10 PM by James Hayes
Posted By: James Hayes @ 05 April 2011 09:42 AM General
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