Robotic house painter could be a world first
IT’S a tedious job that strikes fear into the heart of even the hardiest of DIY enthusiasts. Now a pair of Birmingham-based entrepreneurs are close to bringing the world’s first automated housepainting robot to market.
Harry Smith and Jack Cornes have spent the last year working on a machine that can be left to get on with it.
Their Digbeth-based business, Hausbots, has created a robotic prototype which sticks to walls using suction cups as it sprays paint.
Mr Smith came up with the idea of a robotic painting machine as he tackled one of his own walls at home. Now the childhood friends hope their robots will automate decorating and maybe even be adapted to clean or build entire houses.
Last year, the 20-year-olds won £20,000 of support from the Baldwins KickStart Young Entrepreneur Awards.
Since then Hausbots has received about 100 expressions of interest from the likes of housebuilders, warehouse managers, plasterers and wind turbine manufacturers.
Originally from Rutland in the East Midlands, the duo have moved into premises in Digbeth’s Custard Factory where they can prepare the product for demonstrations.
Hausbots has also used the ‘KickStart’ investment to secure a patent on the product and fund 15 3D printers to work on a variety of different materials.
Mr Smith said: “We have made great progress in ensuring the product is operationally reliable.
“The product is now approaching the exciting stage where we can do site demonstrations to everyone who has expressed an interest.”
Until their first major investment lands, they are making a living by using their 3D printers to produce prototypes for a variety of start-up businesses.
Mr Cornes said: “We’re aiming to be out demonstrating the product using a joystick by the end of this year and to be demonstrating a fully autonomous version shortly afterwards. This is a highly ambitious product that we are creating so we will be launching this at a slow pace to ensure the product is right.
“As we approach 2020, all being well, we will become self-employed decorators so we can oversee the performance of the product before selling the product into the mainstream market.”
David Baldwin, board director at Baldwins Accountants, has been advising them on the launch of their new business venture since they won the young entrepreneur award.
He said: “Hausbots is at the start of an exciting journey and are great examples of why we run the awards.
“They have dovetailed their investment with seeking advice from our team and have spent their investment wisely to give themselves the best chance of success with what is a truly innovative product.”
> Hausbot’s co-founders Jack Cornes and Harry Smith with technician Mahmoud Ibrahim (centre)