Meet Ozmo, the environmentally-friendly window cleaning robot | Sunday Observer

Meet Ozmo, the environmentally-friendly window cleaning robot

The exponential growth in skyscrapers worldwide, most of which feature large glass panes to highlight the breath taking views, has led to a high demand for window washers. Though the specialised job, which earns workers as much as $35 an hour, can be lucrative, dangling alongside multi-story structures is dangerous, and accidents are not uncommon. However, if Israel-based start-up Skyline Technologies has its way, the dangerous chore may soon be assigned to Ozmo, an intelligent window cleaning robot, with humans supervising from the safety of the ground.

“As a society, we’ve become too comfortable watching people hanging off the sides of 30-story buildings,” Yaron Schwarcz, Co-founder and CEO of Skyline Robotics, told CNN Business. “No salary could justify allowing people to strap themselves into metal scaffolds and put their lives in the hands of a system of ropes and harnesses.”

Much like humans, Ozmo, perched on platforms suspended from the buildings, uses its arms and brushes to clean the dirt and grime on the glass panes. A 3D map of the building's surface programmed into its system, allows the robot to skilfully manoeuvre ledges, bumps, or any other obstacles, it is likely to encounter, as it moves up and down the structure. Computer vision and touch sensors enable it to move out of the way in case of unexpected events, such as the sudden opening of a window. “Think of the sensors we've developed like a human hand. We've designed the same thing for the robot so that we imitate the human hand,” Schwarcz said. “Every obstacle that it might have, like a head bobbing out the window, the robot will self-correct and move around it so as not to break a window.”

Unlike current window washers, the robot cleaner does not require soap or Windex to clean the glass. Instead, it uses distilled water and a process called reverse osmosis to do the job. Schwarcz explains, “We hypothyroid by water, taking all the minerals out of it, and then we use the natural properties of pure water to absorb the salts, the minerals, the oils, the grit from the building. We are environmentally neutral.