No matter how clean a hotel room looks, you always have to wonder. If worrying about bacteria between your sheets while traveling keeps you up at night, you’ll want to invest in CleanseBot, a portable robotic hotel room cleaner that is currently being produced after a successful crowdsourcing campaign that raised almost $1.5 million.
"My wife and I came up with the idea for CleanseBot when we were on vacation," co-creator Tom Yang tells CNN Travel.
In 2007, Yang and his wife, Cecilia Hsu, checked into a luxury hotel when they discovered that the room had been left in "unsanitary conditions," and the bed appeared to have been slept in. After doing some research, they found a 2012 study from the University of Houston that tested 19 surfaces in hotel rooms for bacteria. One finding showed that hotel room light switches had an average of 112.7 colony-forming units of bacteria per cubic centimeter.
"We realized that even though we couldn't control how well hotels cleaned their rooms, we could create a way to control our own health and safety while staying there," Yang says.
The couple, along with a team of engineers and designers, decided to create a robotic cleaning device designed specifically for travel, which they named the CleanseBot. The device, a robot that cleans your hotel room, is designed to glide over and between your hotel room bedsheets and eliminate bacteria.
CleanseBot doesn’t pick up debris, rather it uses ultraviolet light in the C-spectrum, a wavelength at which light disinfects. The technology is often used in hospitals. "CleanseBot works by using four UV-C lamps to inactivate and kill bacteria, germs, and dust mites," Yang says.
The device, which weighs only 320 grams (0.7 pounds), is compact and is sold with a portable charger. It can easily be packed in a carry on. Though it takes four hours to charge, it will run for three hours when fully charged. It can function remotely to sanitize blankets and sheets, or it can be used in Handheld Mode and held over any surface or item that you want to disinfect.
The design team worked on CleanseBot for two years, launching Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns to raise money to start production. Yangs says the reaction from the public and the Kickstarter campaign has been overwhelmingly positive.
Yang says that CleanseBot includes a lithium battery that is only allowed in carry-on luggage. It is equipped with 18 sensors that prevent it from sliding off the bed when it reaches the edge. CleanseBot, which kills 99.99% of E.coli, will be sold for $99.
"I think the reason people are so excited about it is because it's completely new," Yang says.