Robotic paddlewheeler skims debris from swimming pools
Swimming in pools may be fun, but using a dip net to skim leaves off of them can be a tedious chore. That's why the solar-powered Ariel robot was created, as it autonomously does the job for you.
Manufactured by Arizona-based company Pivot-Solar Breeze, Ariel features a pair of waterproof photovoltaic panels on its topside. These power the robot during the day – while the sun is up – plus they also charge an onboard battery that allows the device to run at night for a claimed 10 hours or more.
Once set in the pool and powered up, Ariel proceeds to make its way back and forth across the surface at a speed of 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 m) per minute. As it does so, it uses a front paddlewheel to draw in leaves and other floating debris, along with finer particles such as dust and pollen. Everything that it gathers ends up in an internal mesh filter, that can be pulled out for dumping and rinsing.
Propulsion is provided by two side-by-side rear paddlewheels that operate independently of one another, allowing the robot to turn left or right. Sensors on the two front corners of the device detect when it's reached the side of the pool, or when it encounters other obstacles.
By contrast, Ariel's predecessors (the Solar Breeze NX and NX2) had a single paddlewheel in the rear, and turned using bumper wheels that rolled against the edges of the pool.
According to its creators, Ariel is able to cover the surface of an average-sized home pool in approximately 1.5 hours, collecting and retaining particles as small as 200 microns while it does so. It's designed to operate at ambient temperatures ranging from 40º to 130º F (4º to 54º C).
Ariel is available now for preorder, priced at US$468 – deliveries should commence in March. It can be seen in action, in the video below.
Source: Pivot-Solar Breeze