The Japanese toymaker Takara Tomy has gone looking for problems that didn't need to be solved. Their answer is the Auto Mee S, a palm-sized robot designed for cleaning smartphone and tablet screens.
The Auto Mee S is equipped with 3 wheels, 2 cleaning disks, and sensors that enable it to detect and avoid the edge of the tablet/smartphone. It's powered by a AA battery and it will take 4 minutes to clean the fingerprints and dust off of a smartphone or 8 minutes to clean a tablet.
This robot serves no practical purpose; you could wipe the screen yourself in only a few seconds. But I have to say that I just love to see engineers designing gadgets just because they want one or because it looks cool. In fact, I would bet that the idea was originally conceived while the engineers were drunk and watching a roomba clean the carpet. "Hey, let's make one of those for your tablet!"
According to Takara Tomy, this toy will hit the Japanese market in March 2013 with a retail of 1,575 yen, or about $17 USD.