Dogs, small children, and outdoor kitties beware: The makers of the Roomba, iRobot, are working on a robot lawnmower. The Roomba, for those lacking in gadgeteer friends, is a robot vacuum cleaner. If R2D2 were squashed into a 6-inch- tall disc, you’d know what a Roomba looks like. Once activated, the Roomba drives itself around a room, vacuuming as it goes. When it hits a wall, or a chair, it will try to change course, or back up and set off in a new direction. Supposedly, given time, it will vacuum the whole room. I have friends who love theirs, so I’m guess it’s actually pretty successful at sucking dirt. But the real fun is when you get some Roomba-pet interaction going on. As a rule, cats do NOT like vacuum cleaners, and self-propelled vacuum cleaners are simply more than their walnut-sized brains can handle. Oh the hissing I’ve seen! Oh the crazed attempts to chew the Roomba to bits! Good times all around.
Now imagine the same device, but bigger, and armed with blades spinning at high speed. Now you’ve got the iMower, which iRobot just filed a patent for, and you’ll understand why Scruffy had best put on his sprinting shoes. Well, maybe Scruffy better already have those shoes, since it turns out there are already a couple of automated lawn mowers: RoboMower, from an Israeli firm (pictured above) and LawnBott from Kyodo America. Who knew?
Addition: They also come in the solar powered variety. (Thanks Greg)