Monday, May 02, 2011

George Jetson Would Be Proud

This spring season has been a real pain in the grass for many of us trying to keep our lawns from looking like ponds filled with swamp grass. Hardly two days pass without torrential downpours making cutting the grass almost impossible. The grass is green and tall and wet and defies our attempts at keeping it trimmed. So it was with more than passing interest I came across two new high tech offerings that could help address this challenge. In the name of full disclosure, I have to say that I have not tried either, and in light of the high price, most likely will not. Nevertheless, both have a high cool factor and used together would certainly identify the user as very high tech.

Following in the steps of the Roomba, the robotic home vacuum cleaner that is featured extensively on late night TV, the folks at Husqvarna USA are offering the Automower® solar Hybrid, a fully automatic lawn mower that is powered by the sun and rechargeable batteries. The mower finds its way around your yard unattended, cutting the grass as it travels.

According to company press releases, the product uses considerably less energy than any conventional mower. That's because, in addition to a charging station, it comes with a large integrated solar panel. When there is daylight available, the solar cells enable the mower to extend its cutting periods before it needs recharging. The company suggests that the mower is for lawns up to 1/2 acre.

Once you have the robotic mower you instruct it to get to work with the second product, an iPhone app that allows you to communicate with the mower. It can begin cutting your lawn even if you are away from home. So rather than speeding up I-74 from work to get the grass cut before the next downpour, you just send a text message to the mower. With any luck the text message to the mover will get better results than one sent to any teen who might be tasked with cutting your grass.

These digital marvels don’t come cheap. The mower will run you about $3000 and does require some set up so it can cut your grass and spare the shrubs and the flowers. Again, I have not used either of these products so I can’t vouch for how well they work, but you have to admit they do put you in mind of what George Jetson would have used if he didn’t live in the Skypad Apartments in Orbit City. Perhaps his super used one.


Anonymous MikeD said...

I wonder if a group of 10 or so neighbors could go together on this. My lawn mower is idle for probably 95% of it's life. Programming might be an issue, but sharing would be a great way to get at the cost problem.

8:08 AM  

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