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"If I had to get a new Ph.D. now, I'd get it in polymer engineering - the manipulation of matter."
- Bart Kosko

Window-Cleaner Robots  
  Robots that perform the task of cleaning and polishing transparent surfaces.  

The cylindrical ship Rama had enormous lighting strips; how to keep them clean?

There were the "window cleaners," with large padded feet, who were apparently polishing their way the whole length of Rama's six artificial suns. Their enormous shadows, cast right across the diameter of the world, sometimes caused temporary eclipses on the far side.
From Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke.
Published by Not Known in 1972
Additional resources -

The Window Cleaner robots are really "biots", biological robots that have stored energy cells like electric eels.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Rendezvous With Rama
  More Ideas and Technology by Arthur C. Clarke
  Tech news articles related to Rendezvous With Rama
  Tech news articles related to works by Arthur C. Clarke

Window-Cleaner Robots-related news articles:
  - Winbot Scrubs Your Windows
  - Ecovacs Winbot 7 Window-Cleaning Robot
  - SINTEF Robot Cleans Solar Panels

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