Window Cleaning Robots Making Their Way To Skyscraper Happy United Arab Emirates

These robotic window washers are not afraid of heights, high winds, or hard-to-reach places. Gekko Façade and its sister, solar panel cleaning robot Gekko Solar, imitate their lizard namesake by clinging to high places that would unnerve the most intrepid of humans. Which is why the humans could very soon be out of the job.

Gekko Façade is better than window washers, hanging precariously outside office windows on a swinging platform. Not only for the sheer glass it can cover – 576 square meters per hour – but its suction cup feet allow it to stay safely attached while it cleans with a rotating brush, even on curved surfaces. It’s sufficiently nimble to get to all those hard to reach places like a Spiderman Roomba. Of course, it doesn’t always perform death-defying cleaning stunts. Gekko Façade can clean flat surfaces as well.

Gekko Solar is the insect-like robot that crawls across solar panels, cleaning along the way at a rate of 3,000 square meters per hour. Gekko Solar does more than just clean solar panels. A contactless voltage measuring device allows it to check the efficiency of each panel while it’s operating. Faulty panels can be easily identified and replaced. The Gekkos use very little water while cleaning which is more environmentally friendly and economical than conventional washers and saves users money.

In January Serbot showcased its robots at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. UAE’s capital city, Dubai, is a skyscraper wonderland. With the potential to scamper past much slower and more timid humans up the miles and miles of glass-covered skyscrapers, UAE and the Gekko Façades are a perfect combination. But while Gekko Solar is already being sold around the world, the Façade robot still has to finish its last bit of testing before it becomes commercially available.

The Gekkos aren’t fully automated just yet – sensors prevent them from falling off roofs, but they’re still controlled by an operator. But Serbot AG, the Swiss company that makes them eventually plans to develop software that would make them fully automated. Just set them on their way and come back later to admire the shine.

Here’s a video of Gekko Façade hard at work.

This video shows Gekko Solar Farm, the newest member of the Solar team for cleaning large free field solar power plants.

Peter Murray
Peter Murray
Peter Murray was born in Boston in 1973. He earned a PhD in neuroscience at the University of Maryland, Baltimore studying gene expression in the neocortex. Following his dissertation work he spent three years as a post-doctoral fellow at the same university studying brain mechanisms of pain and motor control. He completed a collection of short stories in 2010 and has been writing for Singularity Hub since March 2011.
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