An Adorable Floor Mop
What do you get when you cross a Swifter mop with a Roomba? You get something called Fukitorimushi, which literally means "wipe-up bug". Produced by Panasonic, this little robot scoots along the floor llike an inchworm, collecting dust and grime on its cloth covering. The cloth itself is called Nanofront, a polyester nanofiber developed by Teijin Ltd. that picks up oil, dust, and grime. Because of these nanofibers, Nanofront has ten times the surface area of ordinary fabric, which makes it really good for wiping up foreign substances.
The Fukitorimushi has an advantage over the Roomba in that it actually looks for dirt with its light sensors. This, along with its Muppetlike appearance, gives the little robot some semblance of a personality. People have fallen in love with their Roombas, so Fukitorimushi is bound to be as much of a toy as it is a floor cleaner. Take a look at the "wipe-up bug" in action.
The Fukitorimushi was shown at the Tokyo Fiber '09 Senseware Exhibition where it drew lots of interest. It is not yet available to the public, but that's only a matter of time. All they'll have to do is make a call to Sanrio, slap a Hello Kitty logo on it, and Panasonic will have a best seller on its hands.