Miimo: The robotic mower from Honda that loves your lawn

hondas miimo robotic mower keeps your lawn in shapeChores, 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.

hondas miimo robotic mower keeps your lawn in shape honda

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.

[Ubergizmo via engadget]

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Business

4 women innovators who are using tech to help others live better lives

Meet four women leaders who are not only at the forefront of technology today, but also using tech — from robotics and medicine to food and undergarments — to help others.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our favorites, with all the features you want.
Emerging Tech

Gorgeous image of the Cosmic Bat nebula leaves us starry-eyed

The "Cosmic Bat" nebula has been captured in beautiful detail by the European Southern Observatory. Formally known as NGC 1788, the nebula is two thousand light-years away in a dark corner of the Orion constellation.
Emerging Tech

Super telescope captures supermassive black holes forming billions of years ago

The Subaru Telescope in Hawaii has captured evidence of supermassive black holes forming in the ancient universe. Astronomers discovered 83 quasars powered by supermassive black holes from billions of years ago.
Emerging Tech

Mind-bending model shows Venus isn’t our nearest neighbor — it’s Mercury

Every textbook and table on the internet agrees -- the closest planet to Earth is Venus. But a new mathematical model shows that this is wrong. In fact, the planet closest to us on average is Mercury.
Emerging Tech

Desk lamps take on a new task by converting their light to power

What if we could charge devices using light from indoor sources like desk lamps? A group of scientists working on a technology called organic photovoltaics (OPVs) aim to do just that.
Emerging Tech

Body surrogate robot helps people with motor impairments care for themselves

A team from Georgia Tech has come up with an assistant robot to help people who have severe motor impairments to perform tasks like shaving, brushing their hair, or drinking water.
Emerging Tech

New Hubble image displays dazzling Messier 28 globular cluster

Messier 28 is a group of stars in the constellation of Sagittarius, located 18,000 light-years from our planet. Thousands of stars are packed tightly together in this sparkling image.
Emerging Tech

Cosmic dust bunnies: Scientists find unexpected ring around Mercury

A pair of scientists searching for a dust-free region near the Sun have made an unexpected discovery: a vast cosmic dust ring millions of miles wide around the tiny planet Mercury.
Emerging Tech

Take a dip in the Lagoon Nebula in first image from SPECULOOS instrument

The European Southern Observatory has released the first image collected by their new SPECULOOS instrument, and it's a stunning portrait of the Lagoon Nebula, a swirling cloud of dust and gas where new stars are born.
Emerging Tech

Robot assistants from Toyota and Panasonic gear up for the Tokyo Olympics

Japan plans to use the 2020 Olympics to showcase a range of its advanced technologies. Toyota and Panasonic are already getting in on the act, recently unveiling several robotic designs that they intend to deploy at the event.
Emerging Tech

A.I.-generated text is supercharging fake news. This is how we fight back

A new A.I. tool is reportedly able to spot passages of text written by algorithm. Here's why similar systems might prove essential in a world of fake news created by smart machines.