Fukitorimushi is an autonomous floor-cleaning robot that looks like a pillow with a roving Cylon-like electric eye that scans the floor while it crawls like a grime hungry inchworm using a super-absorbent nanofiber cloth gut to wipe up microscopic dust and dirt that ordinary vacuums leave behind. Panasonic designed and demonstrated Fukitorimushi (“wipe-up bug”) at the Tokyo Fiber Senseware expositions in Milan and Tokyo. Fukitorimushi incorporates nanofiber technology developed by textile maker Teijin, Ltd. The robot cleans by dragging its nanocloth belly across the floor as it slowly moves in search of dirt.
Fukitorimushi moves around by flexing and stretching its body like an inchworm. The robot uses “feelers” of blue-white light to search for floor grime. When it finds a dirty spot, the robot emits a red light and devotes extra effort to cleaning that area. After it has finished cleaning, the machine returns to its charging station to replenish its battery.
Fukitorimushi’s body is covered in Nanofront cloth. Teijin’s Nanofront™ is the world’s first 700 nanometer ultra fine polyester nanofiber "Nanofront™. which is made of polyester filament fibers measuring 700 nanometers in diameter (about 7,500 times thinner than the average human hair). The nanofibers significantly increase the fabric’s surface area and porosity, giving it superior wiping characteristics and the ability to absorb oil and ultra-fine dust particles less than one micron in diameter. The large surface contact area also increases the fabric’s friction with the floor and makes it resistant to sliding. The robot relies on this increased friction to push itself forward while wiping the floor.
The new “island-in-sea” composite spinning technology has solved the problem of unstable quality associated with conventional mass-production nanofibers. The surface area woven in long fibers structure could be tens of times greater than conventional fibers. This enhances water absorption, absorbability of particulates, and anti-translucency. The texture feels soft to the skin, and reduces irritation drastically. Nanofront™. cloth is suitable for a variety of applications, including functional sportswear, innerwear, skin care products, antibacterial filter, and precision grinding cloth