Chores, chores, chores. Sometimes life seems to be nothing but time-consuming chores. The folks at Honda appear to agree, for they’ve just unveiled Miimo, a robot-on-wheels that’ll take care of your lawn, leaving you to do more important things like read a book or drink a beer.
Miimo incorporates what Honda calls a “continuous cutting system”, trimming 2-3 mm of grass at a time, several times a week. That sounds pretty measly at first, but if Miimo starts off with a well-cut lawn (OK, I guess you’ll have to do that), then it should have little problem keeping on top of things from thereon in.
The small robot cuts in a random pattern, thereby creating “less stress” on the grass, though quite what stressed grass looks like, I’m not altogether sure.
Cuttings are not collected, but are apparently so small (ah yes, 2-3mm) that they’re comfortably “dispersed into the lawn root system, breaking down quickly to act as a natural fertilizer which improves the health and quality of the grass,” Honda’s says in a news release about its robotic mower.
Before you can send Miimo on its way, you first have to bury a special wire around the perimeter of your yard. Sensors built into Miimo will detect the wire, thereby preventing it from disappearing off down the street, never to be seen again. The sensors also stop Miimo from bashing into any large objects located around the yard.
Power comes in the form of a lithium-ion battery, but you needn’t worry about it running out – Miimo’s got it covered. When the juice starts to run low, this clever device will trundle over to its docking station for a power boost all by itself.
Miimo is Honda’s first commercial product for domestic use, and will go up against a number of other robotic mowers already on the market. The company hopes it’ll prove popular with those who have no time (or inclination) to mow their lawn. It could also be useful for the elderly, or for those with some physical impairment preventing them from taking on the task.
The Japanese car company has also gained attention in recent years for another robot, Asimo. The advanced astronaut-looking humanoid robot can run, walk across bumpy surfaces, hop, and even pour a coffee. It can’t, however, mow lawns.
Miimo is coming to the European market first, in early 2013. There’s no word on price yet, though machines of a similar type cost from around $1,600.