In a recent survey, 88% of smartphone users responded that they are often bothered by finger prints and other marks on their screens. And since not everyone has a piece of microfiber readily on hand, this is clearly a first world problem that absolutely must be solved. And fittingly, we have an equally first world solution.
Use Automee-S, a tiny robotic cleaner that was just announced by TOMY Company, Ltd. Home cleaning robots like the Roomba are pretty popular in Japan. And TOMY applied the same concept to smartphones and tablets. In fact, it was way back in 1985 when they built their first cleaning robot named the SO-G (which means “cleaning” in Japanese) which uses brooms to clean.
The company describes the Automee as an invention that combines practicality and playfulness. When you turn it on, it is propelled by three wheels on the bottom, and cleaning paper wipes off all fingerprints and oil on the screen. This toy is smart enough to detect the edge of whatever device it is cleaning and turns itself around to avoid from falling off. In this way, the Automee covers the entire surface, making sure everything is nice and clean. If you’d like to see it in action, there’s a video over on the company’s website.
The approximate cleaning time is four minutes for smartphones (12cm x 6cm) and eight minutes for tablets (24cm x 19cm). Automee itself is about 7 cm in width and weighs 82g. It comes in four color variations: orange, blue, pink, and white. The two circles in front of the robot intended to mimic eyes, giving it a pet-like feel. The company is even planning to release other kinds in the future such as trains, cars, and animals.
Automee-S will be sold in a range of retail stores all over Japan, as well as online. It costs 1,575 yen (or about $17) and goes on sale on March 28 .