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Milan Rafailovich from San Diego has invented the world’s first and only automated aquarium glass cleaner. The RoboSnail, as it is called, prevents algae from building up on the glass surface. Aquarium owners will be well aware of the fact that it takes 6 months to a year for pungent algae to build up. Aquariums need daily cleaning and that’s what RoboSnail delivers once a day without requiring any intervention.
Owner of AquaGenesis, the company that makes RoboSnail, Milan Rafailovich has definitely made life a little easier with the robotic cleaner that is receiving rave reviews from initial sales. Automated innovations are always in a unique position as being the ‘one of a kind’ devices and products. They don’t have any direct substitutes so whatever the product is, it has to be right the first time. That’s certainly something RoboSnail has accomplished, but is it too early to make claims?
RoboSnail detects the aquarium top, left, and right edges to calculate the appropriate cleaning pattern
The different parts of the RoboSnail
Development & Features
After impressing a robotic engineering firm with his idea of an aquarium cleaner controlled by a widget, Milan Rafailovich finally developed a prototype that meets batch production requirements. The end product had to be made of high grade materials in a compact size while keeping costs in check. Still getting to this point was not a walk in the park: “The total process took about 3 years and we had to go through a dozen iterations before we found something reliable. There were plenty of days where it looked like this thing would never work or that it would not be practical for the mass market but this did not get the better of me” Milan told us.
After 10 years of work and many prototypes, the RoboSnail is a carefully developed and lightweight automatic aquarium cleaner. After fairly simple programming and installation, the RoboSnail can be used for daily cleaning. Featuring a smart sensing technology, the cleaner detects the dimensions of the aquarium and saves the pattern of cleaning in its internal memory. It then cleans the aquarium glass on a daily basis to prevent algae from building up.
The battery of the cleaner lasts 30 minutes, and it automatically hovers back to the charging station to recharge. It takes less than an hour to set up RoboSnail and that’s about it from then. It requires low key maintenance, ideally once every two months. Since the product is a recent innovation, it will take time before it gets software updates, but they are already in the development pipeline. As sales pick up, AquaGenesis will discover where its potential market lies.
The early sales numbers bode well for the future of RoboSnail. The company has benefited from major press coverage including an article in the New York Times. The RoboSnail works for standard 55 to 150 US gallon glass aquariums, which is the standard capacity range for home aquariums. It works with rimless, freestanding, and even wall mounted aquariums, which sums up three basic aquarium types for homes and offices. An upgrade to the current model now allows the product to work on aquariums that are 1/2 thick and up to and 300 gallons. This is a change that took place in July after the NY times article was published. This is a major plus because many people with larger tanks will now be able to use the product. In some cases the product can work on tanks larger than 300 gallons depending on the construction but as a standard the new upgrade is rates for 100-300 gallon aquariums.
Now, a whole different challenge of marketing a ‘first in the market’ product awaits AquaGenesis. While social media, PPC, and other digital marketing strategies are already in place, many first-ever product makers have a hard time capitalizing on them. As Milan said, “product launch may seem like the final step, but it is also a whole new undertaking. Finding the right partners, negotiations, placement, branding, and price point will also take much time. Many people want to know more information than what is available before they feel comfortable purchasing the product. As a consequence, we do our best to reassure the public by standing 100% behind what we created.” That being said, based on the positive feedback the RoboSnail has received so far, AquaGenesis will not have much trouble selling it if the reviews remain so positive.
The RoboSnail was designed to change the way people think about aquarium maintenance and dispel the notion that keeping an aquarium as a hobby is too much work.
The RoboSnail and AquaGenesis have been in the making for close to 10 years, and the concept only started taking shape 4 years ago. It is a carefully planned and developed product, filling a very specific need in an efficient way. The programming is as simple as it gets. With regular software updates, RoboSnail will improve over time. Now, AguaGenesis’ main focus is on marketing and communication in order to increase RoboSnail’s visibility. Milan is confident when it comes to the future: “we are very proud in what we created and if you have done everything the right way you can also feel proud in offering these assurances. This is a nice old fashioned mentality which will help build long-term success for a company.”
Being the first ever robotic aquarium glass cleaner, RoboSnail definitely has a reputation to live up to. Milan Rafailovich has imagined, prototyped, developed, manufactured and brought to market an award-winning product. His company has a bright future.
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