Mayan Temple Or Cute Floor Cleaning Friend?
Florbot was created as a market development tool for GE Plastics (now Sabic) to stimulate material sales in the floor cleaning appliance market. FUSE principle, Tory Orzeck, then in the GE Plastics Advanced Design and Development Group worked with Carnegie Mellon Robotics technologist Alan Branch to develop this prototype. The product leveraged bleeding edge technology at the time and GE’s portfolio of engineering thermoplastics.
To use, the owner would take Florbot out of the box, charge him up and and set him against a wall. Like an old graphics fill program, Florbot would circumscribe the perimeter, then sweep the interior area and go back to its charging station when done.
Design-wise we knew the product would always be visible so the design was a combination or architectural and companion robot, think R2D2. We especially like that the dust bin’s handle doubles as a mouth. Additionally Florbot’s cap was made from translucent amber ULTEM. At the time, GE was pushing the idea that copper traces could be imaged directly onto heat resistant ULTEM so surface mount components could be attached directly.