Robotic gadgets often work best when they prevent us having to do tiring and repetitive physical work, and that’s certainly an apt description for cleaning a barbeque grill. Enter the Grillbot: a gadget that looks and works a lot like the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner but for your grill.
As with the Roomba, the Grillbot uses sensors to control speed and direction, making sure it take the most efficient route around your grill while still getting everything clean. The big difference is that instead of nylon brushes for picking up dust, the Grillbot has three replaceable brushes with tough metal bristles for scraping the gunk and fat from your grill in exactly the same way as using a wire brush by hand. The three brushes are removable for washing and you can even chuck them in the dishwasher.
The basic principle is certainly simple: in fact inventor Ethan Woods developed the idea by attaching a wire brush to a power drill! As with many gadgets — the works of James Dyson come to mind — the tricky part was making it work smoothly and reliably, particularly given that that grills are anything but the type of solid, flat surface robots prefer.
One of the most impressive features is that, because Grillbot uses wire brushes, it’s able to get to work even while a grill is still hot. Normally when we barbeque, by the time a grill has cooled down completely it’s got dark, we’ve had a few drinks, and we have neither the willpower nor the ability to clean properly, leaving us with the heartsinking sight of a dirty grill the next morning. With the Grillbot, you can set it to work as soon as you’ve put out any flames and you’ll have a great talking point among your more gadget-oriented guests.
The standard version is powered by six D-cell batteries (the chunky sort often used in torches.) A premium edition model uses a rechargeable battery with mains adaptor for charging. With the premium model you can also use a timer to automatically set the Grillbot to shut down after a set period of cleaning.
For those of us in the UK who’ve learned to distrust the phrase “barbeque summer”, it’s possible not everyone will need to use the Grillbot enough to make it a worthwhile investment to the same extent as our American cousins. It really comes down to how often you barbeque and how much you detest cleaning. That said, for anyone who operates commercial grills or runs a campsite or holiday park, this could be a significant time saver.
The Grillbot will be available from mid-2013 with the standard version costing $69.95 and the premium edition $99.95. The manufacturers plan on a UK release at some point, but you can pre-order from grillbot.com for international delivery as the charger is compatible with 240 volts power.