Saturday, February 9, 2013

E. coli & Your Smartphone

At last, the ultimate accessory!

Some, perhaps many are aware that E. coli is a common bacterium found in the intestines of all humans. Normally harmless, rare strains of this nasty little bugger can cause severe food poisoning. Now, Takara Tomy, a Japanese toymaker has me wondering if those dangerous and rarer strains of E. coli have discovered an environment more inviting than the human intestines. So, between programming my iPhone to turn on the coffeemaker and start the washing machine, I have to worry that digital age E. coli has taken up residence on the touch screens of both my iPhone and iPad. Sound crazy? Not too crazy for Takara Tomy who has come up with a health threat advertising ploy to stir enthusiasm for their new product. 

For some time now we’ve had to rely upon small microfiber cloths to quickly buff the fingerprints, E. coli bacterium and anthrax spores off our smartphones and tablets, finding some comfort in knowing that ninety-nine percent of those frightful nasties have at least been transferred to the little cloth we carry around in a pocket. 

March 28 will see the release of Japan’s giant toymaker Takara Tomy’s answer to the E. coli threat and the backbreaking work of cleaning our gadgets with a mere cloth. Their small, palm-sized AutoMee S will take off on its own battery power to buff away the dust, fingerprints and other smears by wandering around your smartphone or tablet screen spinning its brushes and ricocheting off the edges until the entire surface is clean. 

Coming in white, orange, pink and blue, the AutoMee S weighs less than three ounces, measures 2.75 inches in diameter and runs on a single AA battery that will keep it going for three hours. The price is listed at ¥1,575, or about $17.00. Granted, most can clean their devices by hand in a couple of seconds, but there is always the risk of inflaming a bad case of carpal tunnel syndrome, and that’s no fun. If you are willing to sit back and relax, the AutoMee S will do the job on your smartphone in four minutes, your tablet in eight.

Way back in 1986 Takara Tomy produced a small cleaning robot called the Dustbot that featured a built-in vacuum cleaner. It also had sensors to prevent it from falling off a table, but the most memorable feature was its tiny arms that swept a tiny broom back and forth as it moved. Somewhat larger than the company’s latest invention, the Dustbot was designed to clean desks and tabletops. Another impractical gadget but one that captured the imagination of those looking for cute, clever and oddball.


  1. Does it come with a little grappling hook so it can clean my computer monitor? Maybe for a couple of extra Yen?
    Pretty clever, though.
    Now I'm wondering if you really can turn on the washer with your phone. Hmmm...

  2. What an invention. Now this will save me 4 minutes a day presuming that I clean my iPhone and laptop screen every other day. I have multiple things I could do to use those 4 minutes but the question is which one of the thousands things that I do each day should I choose to use the 4 minutes. Nice post and so happy to have you back on screen.

  3. There is a chance you're qualified to get a free Apple iPhone 7.


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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America