February 19, 2019
Do you travel with your own pillow and sleeping bag, even when you go to a “major” hotel? If you don’t, you might want to start thinking about it: A November 2014 investigation by NBC News—complete with hidden cameras—found that, when housekeeping was called to clean a room at each of three well-known chains (Hilton, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza); the maid changed the sheets but put the same pillows back on the bed, along with the same blankets and spread.
“My wife and I came up with the idea for Cleansebot when we were on vacation,” co-creator Tom Yang told CNN Travel on February 15.
Back in 2017, Yang and his wife, Cecilia Hsu arrived in a top hotel, ready to enjoy their vacation, he told CNN—and were shocked to discover the bed was messy and the room had been left in, what they call, “unsanitary conditions.”
The couple did some research on the topic, pinpointing a 2012 study from the University of Houston in which researchers tested 19 surfaces in hotel rooms for bacteria. In fact, the study found, fully 81% of surfaces in hotel rooms are covered with germs and harmful bacteria.
It included the skin-crawling statistic that that hotel room light switches had an average of 112.7 colony-forming units of bacteria per cubic centimeter.
While some of the most contaminated samples, including the toilet and the bathroom sink, were no surprise, they also found high levels of bacterial contamination on the TV remote and the bedside lamp switch. Most concerning, some of highest levels of contamination were found in items from the housekeepers’ carts, including sponges and mops which pose a risk for cross-contamination of rooms.
“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 explained to the cable news network.
An idea formed—and together with a team of engineers and designers, the couple created a robotic cleaning device designed especially for travel, dubbed Cleansebot.
Cleansebot, CNN reports, is designed to glide over and between the bed sheets in your hotel room, killing bacteria in its wake.
There are robotic vacuum cleaners on the market, but Cleansebot isn’t one of them. It doesn’t suck up debris but instead uses ultraviolet light in what’s called the C-spectrum, a wavelength at which light has disinfectant properties and that is often used in hospitals.
It’s compact—weighing only 320 grams (0.7 pounds)—and comes with a portable charger.What’s more, iIt’s designed to be easy to pack in a carry-on case.
It takes four hours to charge, and it’ll last for three hours when fully juiced.
Cleansebot will be available for purchase in April.
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