(Nanowerk News) At the recent Tokyo Fiber '09 Senseware exposition, Panasonic, in cooperation with textile maker Teijin has introduced an autonomous floor-cleaning robot that crawls like an inchworm and uses a super-absorbent nanofiber cloth to wipe up microscopic dust and residue that ordinary vacuums leave behind.
The Fukitorimushi from Panasonic
Panasonic calls its new vacuum floorbot the Fukitorimushi (wipe-up bug”). The robot cleans by simply dragging its nanocloth belly across the floor, stretching and flexing like an inchworm, as it slowly shuffles around in search of dirt. The cloth comes from Teijin Ltd, a Japanese textile maker that specializes in state-of-the-art nanotechnology in textile technology. The company's Nanofront™ polyester nanofibers make up the cleaning cloth of the Fukitorimushi.
The nanofibers significantly increase the fabric’s surface area and porosity, giving it superior wiping characteristics and the ability to absorb oil and ultra-fine dust particles less than one micron in diameter. The large surface contact area also increases the fabric’s friction with the floor and makes it resistant to sliding. The robot relies on this increased friction to push itself forward while wiping the floor.