Blog - Sketching with Hardware

Team 7- iClean

Published on: | Author: Elisabeth Mayer | Categories: 2018b, Best Projects, Projects


After brainstorming, there were a couple ideas we had for the topic “Naught-o-mation”. We shared a couple ideas with some other teams and our last was a smartphone cleaner. With the topic being “Naught-o-mation” we thought the latter would make the most sense seeing as nowadays smartphones have become integrated in everyone’s daily lives and through that a part of the household.

iClean: an all-around smartphone washing station

“Wash away your millennial sins with the iClean. This machine doesn’t only clean away the materialistic dirt on your phone but also your social media trash. “


After deciding on the project, the next step was to define functionalities and the setup.

Take a look at the process:


First to recognize the smartphone we used a light sensor which would register if an object has been placed on it, in this case a phone. Then it would wait for 2-3 seconds before starting to wash, here we also used three LEDs (3V) to indicate if the phone had been registered, through blinking as well as a piezo to play a jingle (here: the Mario theme). Taking inspiration from washing machines and dishwashers – which are commonly found in a household – we decided on three washing cycles for the smartphones, that would take place in a closed compact system.

First Washing Cycle: Dust

For the first cycle we used a standard servo to dust off the rough dirt on the phones. As the dusting item we pimped out a standard duster and programmed it to dust off the cellphone for a few seconds. The first LED (green) indicated the first cycle as well as a tone from the piezo.

Second Washing Cycle: Wiping

Following the dusting, a second tone from the piezo signaled the start of the next cycle, where we used a lighter windscreen wiper with micro servo SG90. Here we programmed it to wipe down the phone only with three movements as well as the second LED (yellow) to turn on whilst it was wiping.

Third Washing Cycle: Spinning

The last washing cycle was the spinning cycle, where we attached a vibration motor onto the bottom of the phone’s platform. As with the other cycles a tone for the piezo as well as the third LED (white) would indicate the start of the cycle. This cycle would not only shake dirt off the phone but also resemble the usual spinning cycle of a washing machine. After a small accident, where the motor vibrated so much that it pulled its own cable we had no choice… but to get a stronger motor. For this motor we ended up having to use an external battery (9V) which gave the motor the extra strength to really rattle the smartphone compared to the arduino (5V).

Additionally, due to the body of the washing system the vibration motor produced the sound of a normal spinning cycle.

(1) Plattform with light sensor. (2) Vibration motor attached to the back of the plattform.

Last Cycle: User Clean

The last cycle which was not indicated by the LEDs or sound was the user clean. We used one last standard servo tied to a bottle to spray the user with some of the “anti-virus Millennial Tears” (H20).

Finally, the piezo played the rest of the jingle and the user could take back their newly cleaned phone.

The setup

All electronics were put into a wooden box, which we had laser cut from standard shapes as well as some of our own designs. As for electricity for the arduino, we used a portable power bank, that was also hidden in the box. As for the design, we were inspired by retro laundry advertising and designed the logo and the washing station accordingly. For the final touch we added a LED strip with 10 LEDs and tinsel to highlight the washing experience for the users.

The setup with labels, plattforms, duster, wiper and spray


Arduino MEGA ADK
Light Sensor
Vibration Motor
Pololu md18a H-Bridge Motor Driver Module
Servo Motor 5V (Standard, micro servo SG90)
3 LEDS (green, yellow, white)
10 LED – LED Strip
External Battery (9V)
Ton of Cable
Alot of Tape
Lots of soldering material



You can find our code here.


In the end the iClean is a new item for house automation or naught-o-mation. Since smartphones have become so integrated in our lives, we can see it becoming part of the households. On the other side the iClean demonstrates how important smartphones have become to users – millennial or not – that it would be imaginable to have a washing station designated for them.
If we were to continue working on the machine we would like to expand the “user wash” cycle not only with the “Millennial Tears” but also a confetti canon that should take the users by surprise. There were discussions also on the topic bubble washing cycle or not.



linked categories 2018b, Best Projects, Projects


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