In the U.K. weatherization may be taking an interesting turn. Insulating floors over tight crawlspaces just got a lot easier, thanks to the Q-Bot.
Developed by architect Tom Lipinski, imperial college professor Peter Childs and mechanical engineer Mathew Holloway, the Q-Bot was designed specifically as a tool to insulate and air seal floors in older homes. Many of the estimated 6 million "pre-1919" homes in the U.K. have suspended timber floors over typically tiny crawlspaces. While these spaces are vented, direct access to insulate and air seal the floor area is limited, if not impossible. (Those elegant pre-1919 Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian homes, while quaint, are infamous for their "draughts.")
Instead of installers trying to squeeze themselves into the crawlspace, or rip up floorboards (usually a completely unfeasible proposition), they can unleash the Q-Bot - a little 4-wheel-drive monster that's part robotic foam gun and part roving camera so s installers can inspect the area before squirting insulation.
According to an article on the Q-Bot in Fast Company's CoExist, company CEO Chris Holloway doesn't expect the robot to put anyone out of work, but rather to empower workers. It's work that they likely wouldn't be able to do otherwise. "The robot can survey and spray an area automatically. But it can't drive the van to the site. It can't open the front door of the house," he says.