See the original story in Japanese.
Rugs, carpets, mattresses, beds, sofas, and so on–surprisingly there are many items consumers want to wash but cannot. An innovative answer that allows them to wash such items with just a vacuum cleaner kicked off a crowdfunding campaign in Japan on Monday. Switle is a cleaner head attachment for vacuums that uses uses jets of water and then sucks the dirt away.
Switle’s cleaner head attaches to the inlet of canister vacuum cleaners and does not have its own power source. Instead, it uses the sucking power of the vacuum to simultaneously inject water while sucking up the dirty water. This is made possible by the patented reverse injection turbo fan unit of the nozzle and tank, and the hose which is equipped with a safety device so there is no need to worry about the water entering into the body of the vacuum cleaner.
This project was organized Sirius, a Tokyo-based consumer electronics wholesaler founded by a former Sanyo Electric employee, along with Yuuki Group which currently carries out parts manufacturing for Panasonic vacuum cleaners and automobiles and was previously an associate company of Sanyo Electric’s rotary machine division. The mechanism to complete the separation of air and wastewater for the special fan uses the “Aqua Cyclone” technology patented by Hiroshima-based inventor Eiichi Kawamoto. Tetsuya Konishi, Chief Creative Officer of Tokyo-based electric prosthetic hand startup Exiii, worked on the product design, and it was orchestrated by Visiongraph, a project group responsible for the concept designs of a variety of new products.
With open innovation, we often visualize the collaboration of large companies and startups, so it is also possible to imagine how differences in the sense of speed and internal processes may lead to difficulties. In contrast, the fact that small and medium sized businesses advance on a case-to-case basis makes them more similar to what is considered a benefit of startups. In the future, it is expected that technology and patents hidden away in these small and medium sized enterprises may, with the help of startups (which tend to excel in design sense) see the light of day again.
The price of a Switle is about 21,000 yen (around $210 US), but in their crowdfunding campaign they are accepting pre-orders at up to 30% off. The campaign continues until the end of December, and they aim to begin shipping the product out next spring. Visiongraph’s content strategist Maiko Miyagawa related the expectation that Switle will become synonymous with new cleaning concepts worldwide in the same way Dyson and Raycop have.
Translated by Amanda Imasaka
Edited by Masaru Ikeda