Meet Ozmo, The Window Cleaning Robot

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Earth Rangers and science lovers rejoice, another environmental friendly robot has been born named Ozmo.

After the increasing worldwide popularity of trash-collecting sharks, another robot sibling is slowly gaining attention. It is known as Ozmo, the first-ever window cleaning robot which can be controlled by humans safely from the ground — as it uses machine learning and computer vision to clean windows at any height.

Today, skyscrapers are growing exponentially, leading to increasing demand for window washers. The mentioned profession can be profitable, and one can earn as much as $35 an hour — but it’s also dangerous and too risky. Between 1983 and 2008, more than 70 window washers died while doing their jobs.

To take human employees out of danger, Skyline Robotics, an Israel-based startup company, came up with a robot solution and raised $3M to automate this dangerous chore. Ozmo is the brainchild of entrepreneurs Avi Abadi (CTO) and Yaron Schwarcz (CEO).

They were inspired to create Ozmo when they looked up at some of the Israel and New York skyscrapers and notice that some people are risking their lives to earn a living. Both thought that there must be a better way. 

In an interview, the co-founder and CEO of Skyline Robotics, Yaron Schwarcz told CNN Business that “we live in a society that’s too comfortable watching people hanging off the sides of 30-story buildings. But no amount of salary can be reasonable enough to allow people to risk their lives and solely depend on a system of ropes and harnesses.”

While on duty, Ozmo will be sitting on the platforms hanging from the buildings while cleaning the dirt on windows using its arms and brushes. As it moves up and down the building, the robot can “skillfully” maneuver ledges, bumps, and other obstacles that it will possibly encounter. A 3D map of the building’s surface is programmed in its system to assist the robot in such cases. For unforeseen situations, like a “sudden” opening of the window, Ozmo can “easily” move out of the way due to its computer vision and touch sensors.

Before Skyline Robotics was created in 2017, to get to know the job of manually cleaning windows at skyscrapers, both co-founders were certified to work at heights, and were hired by an Israeli cleaning company and worked as window washers for a few weeks.

Aside from helping humans perform this job safely, Ozmo also helps Mother Earth. It cleans the windows not with soap or Windex, but it only uses distilled water. It’s also cheaper since the building owners don’t need to buy additional equipment. 

According to Schwarcz, their specialized water filtration system is using reverse osmosis technology. With this method, they create purified water, free from dirt and minerals, which removes dust, oils, and stains. He stated that their invention is environmentally neutral.

Ozmo is more efficient than its human counterparts; to clean a 40 story glass building, it takes three cleaners at least 480 hours each. The robot, however, can do the task by itself in 80 hours. But Ozmo will not steal the jobs of human workers; it will only make their jobs safer and more relaxed. Schwarcz said that they would hire ex-window cleaners to control Ozmo from the ground remotely.

Currently, Ozmo is under testing. Previous window cleaning robots were not able to succeed because they don’t have the same eye for detail, just like humans, and usually, they miss the soot found on window corners.

If Ozmo succeeds in its window cleaning job, it’s inventors have larger ambitions. In an interview with Forbes Magazine, Schwarcz said that Ozmo is not just a window cleaning robot but a full-scale operating system for real estate maintenance. He added that window cleaning is just the beginning. The company believes that humans are more than a robot, and they plan to replace every dangerous, dirty, and tedious task.

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