Nilfisk-Advance donated a Clarke Focus II L20 BOOST Autoscrubber to The Geek Group in Kalamazoo, MI.

“This is an incredible advance in the technology for the entire industry, we’ve never seen anything like it before” said Chris Boden. “We’re thrilled about the opportunity to be able to use this as a foundation for some of our 2009 season robotics work. The Focus II will be heavily modified by our Advanced Robotics Lab here over the course of the next year or so.”

Jeff Howell, a Clarke district sales manager, has volunteered his time to show the facility how to use the machine before they decide to completely turn it into a science project.

“The ultimate goal is to enhance the existing technology and incorporate some really cutting edge ideas, like GPS, motion control, object avoidance and other things so that the unit can eventually be operated as an independent robotic floor cleaner,” Boden said. “Our robotics team is thrilled to have such an excellent piece of engineering to begin with because the Boost system makes the machine far easier to control for us than the traditional style with the rotating brushes, this one tracks perfectly straight and doesn’t pull to the side like everything else does. It makes actually using the machine far easier.”

The Geek Group is a federally-licensed 501(c)3 non-profit organization focused on science, technology, engineering, math, and arts education. They cater to the education and imagination of children, welcome school groups and are a free facility open to the public. Boden said they are excited about the opportunity to look at the machine, though they do see one drawback.

“The only thing we’re unhappy about is that our engineers didn’t think of it first. It’s just one of those inherently obvious ideas that, as an engineer, you can’t imagine why someone didn’t do this 20 years ago. All scrubbers should operate like this. It’s just simply a better way to do things. We are thankful to Clarke for allowing us to use one for our research and making this project possible, and to the engineers and Geeks over there who figured out how to do this.”

At The Geek Group’s facility, you can see and touch giant robots, lightning machines, lasers and all other manners of science and research equipment to explore and build your own projects. They record all of their equipment experiments and most videos are available to watch on www.youtube.com and www.thegeekgroup.org .