The 2021 edition of TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield just ended, with editors voting to welcome the stem cell machine as the ultimate winner. This year, a group of 20 participants includes start-ups that offer products in a variety of fields, from education to programming, finance, medicine, engineering and alternative technologies. However, one participant in the annual starting competition could deserve another look.
TechCrunch he calls it “A robot that keeps the deck of your house looking good.” However, the publication states that simply describing it as “Roomba to re-seal your deck” is not fair. Is called RoboDeck and seeks to bring seamless automation to the $ 10 billion deck maintenance market.
It is not just a deck analogue of Roomba
Gal Frenkel, CEO and co – founder of RoboDecksays that naming this product Roomba a deck is like belittling its core technology and the effort behind it. On the one hand, not only the vacuum cleaner removes dirt, debris and other unwanted loose objects on decks. This is an automatic deck maintenance product that performs not only cleaning but also treatment.
“We didn’t just hack Roomba; we have developed a multi-layered, advanced RoboDeck power technology, ”the company said. The product comes with a number of features that make it completely different from Roomba or other automatic home cleaning devices.
First, it has a completely new navigation system. Unlike the automatic vacuum cleaning robots working on hard surfaces, RoboDeck has to deal with the gaps that ordinary floor cleaning robots can confuse such as edges or falls. To this end, it uses vision-based algorithms that use Nvidia GPUs and neural networks; it uses a set of sensors to allow accurate systematic navigation that not only detects edges, but also ensures that the robot does a good job of spraying spots.
As part of its deck maintenance work, RoboDeck is designed to apply stain sprays to decks to keep them new. It features patented air spray technology designed to effectively spray stains. The company says that this technology is “able to apply only part of the usual volume of stains, at a price that is convenient for consumers (the cost of such a system as it is available today can reach tens of thousands of dollars).”
Again, this is not just a rethinking of an existing product. RoboDeck is built with an internally designed motherboard, which is responsible for the implementation of the robot’s embedded system in real time, the processing of its monitoring capabilities and the management of its power supply system.
Revolutionary deck coloring
To achieve a robotic product that is suitable for efficient deck maintenance, the construction of RoboDeck called for the development of other proprietary by-products, such as special spot and, proprietary navigation and spraying systems. The product also includes cloud connectivity and application control.
Regarding the stain, the company said that “we have chemically designed our stain, which allows it to be used in all types of decks, regardless of the wood and color.” This non-traditional coloring product is said to be “suitable for applying a 20 micron layer”, which is significantly better than the application of a 100 to 200 micron layer used by conventional deck coloring systems.
RoboDeck adds that the company has conducted experiments showing that their product is superior to traditional deck restoration products and methods. The newly stained deck does not fade for several months due to the special stain and the unique stain spraying process followed by the product.
RoboDeck’s spray technology combines the advantages of two patented technologies to ensure effective stain application. It delivers the spot from a height of about 4 inches (10 cm) to maintain excellent maneuverability. With its sensor array and vision-based algorithms, the robot can not only stop on the rocks, but also follow the gaps to apply the right amount of stain to hard-to-reach places. In addition, he intelligently outlines his course to avoid rolling into the freshly soiled parts of the deck.
The creators of this automatic deck maintenance robot made sure that it could distinguish between rocks and gaps. Detecting rocks causes the device to stop or change course, while seeing a gap tells the robot to continue staining to provide adequate coverage. The robot is designed with the knowledge that delivering the same amount of stain on the deck, ignoring the gaps, leaves some parts that can become vulnerable to the elements, thus causing damage earlier than other treated parts .
In addition, RoboDeck can be managed via its special application. It can be controlled to perform work for short cleaning or full staining immediately or according to a specific maintenance schedule. Also, through the application, users can monitor the progress of the robot in real time.
Inspired by experience built by experts
Frenkel suggests he was inspired to create the product after failing to find a robot designed to maintain the deck. An Israeli serial entrepreneur, he had little free time after finishing work on his last launch, so he considered doing his own deck restoration. He realized that annoyingly repetitive deck maintenance tasks could be automated. He tried to seek deck support a robot similar to Roomba but I did not find. So he decided to build one himself.
Frenkel brainstormed with business partners to discuss the idea of building a RoboDeck in view of the profitability of the outdoor deck maintenance market. After deciding that the concept of automatic deck maintenance had serious potential, Frenkel founded RoboDeck and continued to develop products.
Frenkel’s co-founders include a robotics expert, a longtime hardware and software developer, and an expert on coats and stains for deck maintenance. The robotics expert is Ran Zaslavski (co-founder and chief technical officer), who has more than two decades of experience in building robotic vacuum cleaners, lawnmowers and high-strength unmanned aerial vehicles. The hardware and software developer is Noam Rand (co-founder and chief operating officer), a veteran of Israeli intelligence. Finally, the coat and stain expert is Lior Dahan of Deck King. He played an important role in creating a special spot on RoboDeck.
The perspective of the product
The RoboDeck prototype is capable of supporting a deck up to 500 square feet on a single charge. For larger areas, the company offers a charging station for automatic recharging of the device and starting to complete the maintenance work in the unfinished areas. The company is still in beta testing. However, they say using RoboDeck through its subscription-based usage scheme can save deck owners up to 50 percent of deck maintenance costs.