Ever spent a sleepless night in a hotel room freaking out about all the germs you might be sharing a bed with?
Chances are you're going to want to get your sanitized hands on a new invention that promises to expunge all bacteria from between the sheets in a matter of minutes.
CleanseBot is a portable robotic hotel room cleaner that's now in production following a crowdsourcing campaign that raised nearly $1.5 million -- clearly there's a lot of germaphobes out there.
"My wife and I came up with the idea for CleanseBot when we were on vacation," co-creator Tom Yang tells CNN Travel.
Back in 2017, Yang and his wife, Cecilia Hsu arrived in a top hotel, ready to enjoy their vacation 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.
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.
"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," says Yang.
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 is designed to glide over and between the bedsheets in your hotel room, apparently eradicating bacteria in its wake.
There are robotic vacuum cleaners about, 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.
"CleanseBot works by using four UV-C lamps to inactivate and kill bacteria, germs, and dust mites," explains Yang.
It's compact -- weighing only 320 grams (0.7 pounds) -- and comes with a portable charger. It'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.
"It can go remotely under the blankets and sanitize sheets, but then you can pick it up in Handheld Mode and hold it over literally any surface, toy, item, anything you want to disinfect," says Yang.
The duo has spent the past two years working on CleanseBot, setting up Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns to raise the fund they needed to start production.
"The reaction from the public and the response to our Kickstarter campaign has been incredible," says Yang.
Yang tells CNN that CleanseBot is easy to travel with, although the lithium battery means it's only allowed in carry-on luggage.
It's also equipped with 18 sensors, to stop it from falling off the bed when it reaches the edge.
The team are pitching CleanseBot at a relatively affordable $99.
They says it's worth the price and cite a microbiology lab test that shows the device killed 99.99% of E.coli.
The crowdsourcing campaign has now come to an end and the team are working on manufacturing and production. Patents are pending.
Yang and Hsu think the concept could really take off.
"I think the reason people are so excited about it is because it's completely new," says Yang.
- CleanseBot: Portable robot that sanitizes your hotel bedsheets
- Please don't sanitize Meghan Markle
- Residents in this city are hanging dozens of bedsheet banners to support survivors of sexual assault
- Robots invade the Smithsonian museums
- Sublime 'antiquities' carved by robots
- Basketball robots and flying cops
- Stains, bugs and body fluids found on 'sanitized' refurbished mattresses sold in Tampa Bay stores
- Hand sanitizers are losing kill power against this germ in hospitals, study finds
- Hand sanitizer cut back on young children's sick days more than washing, study says