Meet the Lawn Roomba

Do you hate mowing the lawn? You’re not alone — it’s one of the most dreaded, feared and loathed tasks in my neighborhood, and I suspect we’re not the only ones. Mowing the lawn is tedious, time-consuming, sweat-inducing and filthy. Worse yet, those little blades of fiendish grass seem to stick to you for an eternity after finishing the job, making you constantly come over all itchy just when you think you got rid of the last of them.

Some people like to go the riding mower route for more comfort, but that’s really only a feasible option if you have a big, uncomplicated lawn and garden. At my house, where the garden and the yard blend with each other in curves, fits and spurts, a riding mower wouldn’t fit in most places without damaging the plants, and the yard is just too small to justify using one even if I wanted to try. (Though I have thought about it, watching that guy down the road smugly enjoy his on a hot day after I’ve spent two hours trudging behind a spewing, sputtering push mower — the sight also makes me wonder if I can get a San Francisco plumber to build me a portable outdoor shower to drizzle cool water on me while I work.)

My hatred of lawn mowing explains why I’m really interested in the EcoMow, a concept project with a lot of potential.

1. It’s robotic. Syncing with Google Maps, EcoMow neatly traces the boundaries of your lawn (and the neighbors’, if you’re feeling generous). No more pushing a mower around! It’s like a Roomba for your lawn! Tell me that’s not a piece of good news — imagine kicking back on the porch with a glass of lemonade and watching it go.

2. It fuels itself. This device runs on biomass, which it collects as it mows the lawn. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a perpetual motion machine, but it’s pretty self-sustaining. Better yet, depending on the size of the area mowed, it can also produce biomass pellets as a byproduct to fuel other devices. Not too shabby for a lawnmower.

Now, here’s the bad news: when the developers sat down to crunch the math on their project, they found that producing a residential version just wasn’t feasible right now, because the return on investment would be too low. They’re focusing on a prototype of a commercial version that will handle large fields so they can perfect the technology and get the machine up and running (so to speak). Once they’re satisfied, they can turn to designing smaller models, which will probably be pretty costly to start out with.

So … it might be a few years before I can enjoy an EcoMow of my own, and the same goes for you, unless you happen to live in the middle of a giant field. Have you considered calling a landscaping company to take some of those mowing duties off your back?

Katie Marks writes for Networx.com. This article originally appeared here.

Photo: Brent Boucheron/Flickr

94 comments

Warren Webber
Warren Webber1 years ago

Live long and prosper

Franck Rio
Frank R.2 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Ros G.
Ros G.2 years ago

Thanks for the article..was just saying the other day..to my husband..are looking forward to downsizing..when all I will need to mow the lawn ..is an old fashion push mower..this looks like a "delux" model.

John chapman
John chapman2 years ago

Mowing a lawn with a push mower is called...........exercise.

Something that seems to be in short supply these days.

Besides if you were to use the old fashioned reel type push mower.

It actually cuts the grass rather than tearing it like a power mower does.

Jordan G.
Jordan G.2 years ago

Cutting the lawn with a manual mower gives me exercise, mulches, and saves from pollution. I can't understand the objection unless someone is infirmed, unwell, suffering the weight of administrative busy-ness, etc.

Marianne R.
Marianne R.2 years ago

Thank you for posting

Tara W.
Tara W.2 years ago

Wow, cutting the grass is one of the most "dreaded, feared and loathed tasks"? Then why do we have lawns? Time to find an alternative to the grass, not the mower!

Jeffrey Stanley
Jeff S.2 years ago

Runs on the clippings, that's awesome!

Manuela C.
Manuela C.2 years ago

Cool.

Kay M.
Kay M.2 years ago

not sure if I'd trust it, but interesting concept.