Snow blower robot

For those of us who are stuck in the middle of a cold and snowy winter, this project will seem like a stroke of genius. [Jimmy Bui] has put together this robotic pushing platform. While it is seen in the video (on the linked page) pushing a snow blower, it seems to be simply bolted on. This means it could push pretty much anything, such as a lawn mower. The platform itself looks like a common layout. He’s using the base of a motorized wheel chair, and some scavenged bits to protect the circuitry.  He says that he built it after seeing elderly people having a hard time shoveling their driveways in his neighborhood.  They don’t say if he loans it out to them now, but we suspect that he does.

[via Robots Dreams]

Comments

  1. PocketBrain says:

    Snobots, sno!
    You do realize they will take over the planet. Until global warming melts all the snow and they will be out of a job.

  2. jeditalian says:

    lol i would go hit the snow with a lawnmower

  3. Cool idea – if a bit complicated – but up north where I live, any snow that sucker could handle would pretty much get ignored and called a “dusting”. lol.

    The guts of a common MTD / Yard Machines (they also make a lot of the private label ones) are pretty simple and just scream for modification. They use a friction disk and plate that should be really easy to automate. in a way that could fit right inside the unit. I’d love to do this, but I’d never take my own unit out of service long enough so first I’d have to spend a few hundred bucks buying a spare.

  4. golddigger says:

    Awesome Snow in the winter and grass in the summer!

  5. LumpyGravy says:

    I would hate to see that thing mess up and grab a foot or someones leg etc….

  6. grelfod says:

    Sweet! I can see adding a motor to the chute direction crank being a big bonus

  7. daniel reetz says:

    Awesome.

    If anyone is looking for a robotic wheelchair chassis, I have one that I got for a project and never used.

  8. Some Guy says:

    That bit about loaning it out to the elderly and expecting them to operate it seems a bit far fetched. However they might use it in the summer if it could be modified to chase kids off the lawn…

  9. misha says:

    “loan it to the elderly”, yeah because they’re so tech-savvy, coming from the generation of rotary phones and telegrams.

    I doubt you’d grab a foot or leg with it, because theoretically the person whose leg its attached should get out of the way. I would hate to see someone run over a pet with it however who may get stuck in soft snow and the operator may not see it if they’re operating it from a remote vantage point or completely autonomously with software.

    It would be easier to install heaters in the cement ( if you were planning on redoing the driveway / walkway ) or lay some kind of thermal mat down *before* the storm and just pump hot water through it as it’s snowing to keep it from ever building up.

    That’s my 2 cents =)

  10. Sean says:

    Good luck using that in any of the states that really see winter – Nebraska, Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota, etc…. I don’t see that thing working so well through 18 inches of snow.

  11. Cynyr says:

    @LumpyGravy
    This looks like one of those single stage blowers with a rubber paddle in it. Not likely to do much to a hand or leg.

    @Misha
    I like the idea of a heated drive, but what about when it is -20F? or colder? Also when you melt the snow it turns to water, that water then runs down/off the drive and becomes ice. Most cities are not going to be happy with you making a skating ring in the middle of a road.

  12. Unknown says:

    Seems like a bad idea to have giant rotating blades on a robot let loose in a neighborhood… And as others have said, would never work in an area with heavy snowfall. Neat idea, but I would hate to see something like this used in my own neighborhood.

  13. cryogen says:

    Nice idea. I’d really like to see large versions of these roaming the highways (with some safety features of course). Out here, if it starts snowing on a Saturday or Sunday, you won’t see plows until about 10:00 am on Monday no matter how bad the snow is. With very large roboplows the roads could always be cleared instead of only when the drivers could be rolled out of bed.

  14. Captain DaFt says:

    I’d be careful around this pusher bot.
    Especially if it wants me to stand at the top of the stairs.
    (Yeah, sorry, old meme)

  15. jeditalian says:

    “It would be easier to install heaters in the cement”
    lol it would be easier to take the blade off a lawnmower and vent the exhaust downward to melt the snow like [---v---] where [------] is the cutting deck..
    lol theres my dumb idea that pollutes the earth :D

  16. Ron Proctor says:
  17. Ron Proctor says:

    I like this one even better – he goes to work before the snow gets really heavy (so he’d end up doing the driveway several times during a storm). I like that he’s only got a plow up front – not as scary as blades…

    http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2009/01/autonomous_snow_shovel_robot.html

  18. mikeymike says:

    its been done much better than that http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8XYeexrs_8

  19. fartface says:

    That is NOT a robot. It’s a remote control platform. I figured that at least Hack-a-day could tell the difference between a remote control setup and a robot.

    Robot does things on it’s own. Set it’s program and press run. Remote control uses a person to do all it’s functions.

  20. Alan says:

    Is this nit massively dangerous, especially controlled by OAPs.

  21. Why not modify this for use with a lawn mower?

  22. Karl says:

    Anybody thinking of Maximum Overdrive?

    @Amatoc
    Here’s one reason why not:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armando_Nannuzzi

  23. Don says:

    Anyone who has actually used a snowblower would know there is more effort and finesse required than just pushing it back and forth in straight lines. this thing would be a pain….

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