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New CASMOBOT Lawnmower Controlled By a Wiimote

timothy posted about 5 years ago | from the cars-are-next dept.

Robotics 81

An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at the University of Southern Denmark have modified a Wiimote so that it can control an industrial lawn mower. The project is called Casmobot (Computer Assisted Slope Mowing Robot). 'The Casmobot project is about making grass cutting more efficient,' said Kjeld Jensen, a robotics researcher at the University of Southern Denmark who developed the system. It uses a standard Wiimote that communicates via Bluetooth to a computer and robotics module built into the mower. Actions of the mower are matched to tilt actions of the remote. For example, if you tilt the remote down the mower moves forwards; tilt it up, and it moves backwards, and so on. The Wiimote can be used to control the mower manually or in computer-assisted mode, where the mower uses autonomous navgiation based on RTK GPS positioning to cut larger areas."

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81 comments

Wiimote Mower Overloards (1, Redundant)

ferrgle (945967) | about 5 years ago | (#27520681)

I for one welcome our Wiimote controlled Mower Overloards and hope I get to the Wiimote before my enemies do. (It's a valid concern.)

interestingly enough (4, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 5 years ago | (#27520703)

mowing your lawn this way is just as exciting as your average wii game

Re:interestingly enough (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27521019)

Xcunt licker? PSFreez fanboi? Nope, you're a freak of nature. No balls and you're just one big dick.

Re:interestingly enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27521761)

Mod +1 truth.
Esp. for 1st party games

Really useful? (2, Insightful)

dremspider (562073) | about 5 years ago | (#27520715)

Does it make it more efficient? First of all I am pretty sure it is going to take longer. Second, for the cost to make one of these I am pretty sure you can make one of those lawn mowers that cut grass BY ITSELF with NO HUMAN INTERVENTION. I don't care if it takes 5 days for the machine to do it, if it is automatic and I don't need to be there. Finally, all this does is requires a human to still attend to the grass, but not get the side benefit of exercise... While this invention is cool, don't pawn it off as something useful when their is clearly little to no market for something like this...

Re:Really useful? (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | about 5 years ago | (#27520881)

Exercise? You mean, sitting on the mower?

Re:Really useful? (1)

GNUbuntu (1528599) | about 5 years ago | (#27520943)

It takes a lot of effort to pull the beer up to your mouth from the cup holder.

Re:Really useful? (1)

Gat0r30y (957941) | about 5 years ago | (#27521041)

I know I stay in shape by doing plenty of 12 ounce curls. - To Alcohol, the cause of and solution to all of life's problems.

Re:Really useful? (1)

thedonger (1317951) | about 5 years ago | (#27521091)

lawn mowers that cut grass BY ITSELF with NO HUMAN INTERVENTION

You are just asking for gangs of autonomous lawn mowers roving the streets at night with no regard for the law.

On a related note, isn't it ironic that we become more passive as we develop means to automate such tasks? I am not referring to a lack of exercise, but rather a disaffected lifestyle.

Re:Really useful? (1)

cream wobbly (1102689) | about 5 years ago | (#27521165)

I agree. This is a retrograde step in robotics, and something you kinda don't want to brag about.

The sole reason it hit the news seems to be the cots controller.

Re:Really useful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27521423)

Second, for the cost to make one of these I am pretty sure you can make one of those lawn mowers that cut grass BY ITSELF with NO HUMAN INTERVENTION.

You can buy a robotic lawnmower from Walmart. It's about $1600. For much less than that, you can pay a landscaping crew or the kid down the street to mow the lawn. This is one of those tasks that doesn't make sense to automate. It can be done cheaply by willing humans without putting them at unacceptable risk.

Re:Really useful? (0, Troll)

GNUbuntu (1528599) | about 5 years ago | (#27521499)

Or one can just get their fat ass off the couch and mow it themselves and maybe burn a couple hundred calories.

Re:Really useful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27521675)

Thank you for your observation. The OP was talking about a solution that is "automatic and I don't need to be there". "mow it themselves" doesn't quite fit the bill.

Re:Really useful? (1)

GNUbuntu (1528599) | about 5 years ago | (#27521767)

The OP was talking about a solution that is "automatic and I don't need to be there". "mow it themselves" doesn't quite fit the bill.

Actually the OP said "BY ITSELF with NO HUMAN INTERVENTION" so asking the kid down the street or a lawn crew to do it would also not fit the bill. But since the GP was already suggesting ways to do it WITH HUMAN INTERVENTION you might as well just save yourself the money and just mow it yourself and burn a bit off fat off that ass.

Re:Really useful? (1)

kheldan (1460303) | about 5 years ago | (#27521809)

Hear, hear. The same crowd that this appeals to needs things to get them OFF the couch and moving around NOT more things they can sit on their backsides and just WATCH. Better yet, get rid of their power mowers completely and get them a push mower instead, they're great exercise.

Re:Really useful? (1)

Pinckney (1098477) | about 5 years ago | (#27522649)

This is an industrial mower. Push mowers have been obsolete in such a role for decades, at least. You might as well lament the disappearance of the horse-drawn plow.

Re:Really useful? (1)

kheldan (1460303) | about 5 years ago | (#27537955)

This is an industrial mower.

Like that's going to stop anybody on /. with an excess of both disposable income and body fat from looking at getting one. And by the way mister smartass, they sure [amazon.com] as [amazon.com] hell [amazon.com] do [amazon.com] still make manual push mowers, they're far from obsolete. You should go buy one tomorrow, and work on losing that lard-ass of yours.

Re:Really useful? (2, Insightful)

Pinckney (1098477) | about 5 years ago | (#27522847)

You can buy a robotic lawnmower from Walmart. It's about $1600. For much less than that, you can pay a landscaping crew or the kid down the street to mow the lawn. This is one of those tasks that doesn't make sense to automate. It can be done cheaply by willing humans without putting them at unacceptable risk.

This lawnmower? [walmart.com] The one that requires a wire be placed around the lawn, and is intended for lawns of only about a 5th of an acre?

You don't seem to get the point of this at all. It's not for mowing small lawns. This is for large fields or parks for which a tractor-mower was the most practical option anyway. I suspect that after a year or two of not needing to hire someone to drive around mowing on that expensive tractor, you can save quite a bit.

Re:Really useful? (2, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | about 5 years ago | (#27521581)

This is for industrial mowers. Not your lawn. Think more like the mowers for sports stadiums or parks or fields. Those are very noisy, and the constant vibration can be unhealthy [ergoweb.com] . I'm all for it.

Re:Really useful? (3, Insightful)

fractoid (1076465) | about 5 years ago | (#27522599)

It's a remote controlled lawnmower. It's exactly like a frikkin Jet Hopper except (a) it has swirly blades, and (b) it connects using commodity hardware with a commodity controller over a popular, well known interface.

Sorry to sound sandy, but to quote my honours superviser at uni: "Where's the science"? This isn't even as cool as if he'd stuck a Basic STAMP on it and internet-enabled it.

Re:Really useful? (3, Insightful)

ChinggisK (1133009) | about 5 years ago | (#27521585)

Does it make it more efficient? First of all I am pretty sure it is going to take longer. Second, for the cost to make one of these I am pretty sure you can make one of those lawn mowers that cut grass BY ITSELF with NO HUMAN INTERVENTION. I don't care if it takes 5 days for the machine to do it, if it is automatic and I don't need to be there. Finally, all this does is requires a human to still attend to the grass, but not get the side benefit of exercise... While this invention is cool, don't pawn it off as something useful when their is clearly little to no market for something like this...

According to the video all you have to do is use the Wiimote to guide it around the perimeter of the area you want it to mow, then it mows the area inside of that on its own. I'm not an expert but I think for those other mowers that do it by themselves, you still have to set up some kind of barrier of some sort (buried wire for example). I could maybe see this being useful for someone who goes around and cuts grass in a lot of different areas that they can't set up a wire or whatever. Maybe.

Re:Really useful? (1)

fractoid (1076465) | about 5 years ago | (#27522613)

How'd you get that from the video? To me it looked like if you use the wiimote to guide it around the permimeter of the area you want it to mow, some guy will tape you guiding it around the rest in fast-forward while frantic bass muzak plays.

Re:Really useful? (1)

ChinggisK (1133009) | about 5 years ago | (#27522701)

I got it from the big words that came up on the screen at the beginning and in the middle and said it.

Re:Really useful? (1)

fractoid (1076465) | about 5 years ago | (#27523135)

I call shenanigans. I just re-watched the movie on the page linked in the summary and it doesn't say anything of the sort. There were no big or small words at any point saying anything like what you said; has the movie changed?

Re:Really useful? (1)

ChinggisK (1133009) | about 5 years ago | (#27526677)

I never looked at the actual site because it was slashdotted when I was looking, so I watched the video someone linked below, here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhMl7a3wJvQ [youtube.com] . Dunno if it's the same as what's on the site, but this one definitely has words.

What happens if.... (1)

TreyGeek (1391679) | about 5 years ago | (#27520717)

What happens if you don't have the Wiimote condom on and the Wiimote goes flying out of your hands? Anyone remember the lawn mower scene in "The Happening"?

Re:What happens if.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27520833)

I think the more appropriate movie reference would have to be the lawnmower scene from Maximum Overdrive since we're not talking about suicide, rather unintentional death by machine.

Re:What happens if.... (1)

Chyeld (713439) | about 5 years ago | (#27526267)

The Happening never happened, and if you attempt to claim otherwise, I'm going to run you over with a lawnmower.

Slashdotted - cache. (3, Informative)

edlinfan (1131341) | about 5 years ago | (#27520811)

First, the obligatory Google Cache link.
http://74.125.95.132/search?hl=en&q=cache%3Ahttp%3A//www.casmobot.dk/ [74.125.95.132]

There's not much on the main page except a link to the YouTube video, here.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhMl7a3wJvQ [youtube.com]

Anyway, I wonder how easy it really is to control this thing. Holding a WiiMote level for a long time is harder than it sounds.

The GPS-autonomous mode is really cool, though. Last time I checked the progress of robo-mowers, many of them required a buried cable, fence, or other tangible barrier. This thing is orders of magnitude more convenient.

It's an outrage (1)

AnalPerfume (1356177) | about 5 years ago | (#27520819)

I'm guessing that'd pretty much sum up Hank Hill's reaction to this monstrous melding of beloved mower and new fangled gadgetry things. Mowers are a lifestyle I tell you what.

Re:It's an outrage (5, Funny)

Critical Facilities (850111) | about 5 years ago | (#27521189)

[boomhauer]Yeah, man. Dang ol' tell y' wut, man ain't no way that thar wii go'n drive m' John Deere, man. Shoot, dang ol' robot mower go'n invade, man go'n get caught up in that dang ol' Conficker, man go'n mowed m' rose bushes. I tell you what, man, ain't no internet GPS satellite alien technologicalized controller runnin' my mower, boy I tell you what.[/boomhauer]

Re:It's an outrage (1)

fractoid (1076465) | about 5 years ago | (#27522913)

Iff'n that dang Conficker varmint ain't dern good 'nuff to take over'n yer dern mower then what th' 'ell is it good fer, you tell me boy!

Re:It's an outrage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27523183)

I lol'd.

Web-controlled robot (4, Interesting)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | about 5 years ago | (#27520911)

I recently put together a Mindstorm NTX based robot that's controlled from a web page. It's been lots of fun, and it even has its own blog (which I'm specifically not posting so hordes of Slashdot users don't try to drive it around terrorizing my daughter).

My son and I joked about making it do something useful and buying a URL called "cleanmyroom.com" where total strangers will go around cleaning up your room. In this case, I'd go for "mowmylawn.com". It's like Tom Sawyer charging money to whitewash a fence.

Re:Web-controlled robot (2, Insightful)

rhsanborn (773855) | about 5 years ago | (#27521151)

Do you really want strangers controlling a mechanical device with heavy, metal, spinning blades at your home?

Re:Web-controlled robot (2, Funny)

nizo (81281) | about 5 years ago | (#27521635)

This might be safer than my plan, which is to have a round lawn with a string (like a weed whacker) that pops up from the center and buzzs around a few times. It could be automated, but having someone chase off any random animals (birds, neighbor's cat, mailman) before turning it on might be prudent.

Re:Web-controlled robot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27521375)

Oh no you don't. You aren't fooling us twice. [slashdot.org]

Re:Web-controlled robot (3, Funny)

whyde (123448) | about 5 years ago | (#27521705)

I'm sure within a few hours of "mowmylawn.com" being up there will be an auto-redirect from "mowdownmybegonias.com"

Bluetooth you say? (1)

Verdatum (1257828) | about 5 years ago | (#27520955)

They got their wiimote to communicate via Bluetooth? That's marvelous! What will they think of next? I am so very tired of my wiimote communicating via Morse code! They should tell the good folks at Nintendo about this innovation!

Why a wiimote... (4, Interesting)

Zakabog (603757) | about 5 years ago | (#27520997)

The site seems to be slashdoted, so here's the Google cache [74.125.93.104] and a Youtube video [youtube.com]

The site doesn't seem to mention it, but why a wiimote? Why not a standard RC joystick?

The wiimote is okay with games, where misjudging the position of the wiimote will just screw up a virtual character. But why bring that into the real world where misjudging the position of the wiimote will send an industrial mower (with very sharp very fast spinning blades) off in the wrong direction? At least with the standard RC joystick if you let go of the control it'll snap back to the center and the mower would stop. You don't have the same feature with a wiimote, if you want to stop the mower you have to find the neutral zone yourself, if you drop the wiimote, the mower will go shooting off in some potentially dangerous direction (especially when near a road.)

Re:Why a wiimote... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27521301)

because as everyone knows if a computer device is involved (in any way at all) it ceases to be called a lowly thickos "remote control lawnmower" and is magically transformed into a "hi-tech grass slashing mega death robot!"

Re:Why a wiimote... (1)

DrMaurer (64120) | about 5 years ago | (#27521543)

I suppose the worst part would be if you didn't make sure that it goes off with some kind of killswitch. "Hold down the z button to engage blades."

I always hated it when the batteries died and I couldn't even pause the game...it's annoying when Leon dies in RE4, but this would be a little worse.

Re:Why a wiimote... (1)

jmccarty (1510147) | about 5 years ago | (#27521639)

Actually, I wonder what happens when you are sitting in a chair, driving your lawnmower, and it drives out of bluetooth range? Does it stop or do you get to chase it down on foot?

Re:Why a wiimote... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27522571)

Here's a better video. [youtube.com]

Re:Why a wiimote... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27532773)

The site doesn't seem to mention it, but why a wiimote? Why not a standard RC joystick?

Or an iPhone? There's an app for that.

Either way, Skynet has added it to inventory.

This is a really great innovation... (3, Funny)

macraig (621737) | about 5 years ago | (#27521015)

... because my doctor advised me just the other day that I need to be getting less exercise, for the sake of my health.

Modified Wiimote? (1)

Dan East (318230) | about 5 years ago | (#27521685)

"Researchers at the University of Southern Denmark have modified a Wiimote so that it can control an industrial lawn mower."

"It uses a standard Wiimote that communicates via Bluetooth to a computer and robotics module built into the mower."

So which is it? Did they actually modify a Wiimote or just use it as another HID via any of the myriad drivers out there? Would this be any more or less newsworthy if they used a wireless mouse, or a controller connected to the computer with *GASP* a wire?

safety? (1)

cmdr_tofu (826352) | about 5 years ago | (#27521711)

I, for one, don't think any power tool should be controlled by a WIIMOTE. Also, I'd never want to have to explain to my neighbor how I accidentally "mowed" her cat. This device isn't really a timesaver, you would just end up with poorer control and less ability to see what you were actually cutting.

Re:safety? (2, Funny)

Farmer Tim (530755) | about 5 years ago | (#27522525)

Also, I'd never want to have to explain to my neighbor how I accidentally "mowed" her cat.

A mark of good intentions: putting the inverted commas around "mowed" rather than "accidentally".

"Modified"? (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | about 5 years ago | (#27521747)

have modified a Wiimote so that it can control an industrial lawn mower.

It uses a standard Wiimote that communicates via Bluetooth to a computer and robotics module built into the mower.

How is that modifying the remote? Sounds more like interfacing an unmodified remote with a computer that controls a module which controls the mower.

Look at me! I've modified a keyboard to put text on a remote web server!

Missing the retarded tag? (0, Flamebait)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 years ago | (#27521775)

Why hasn't this been tags as retarded yet?

Much like the Wiimote is a horrible game controller for almost every Wii game made sense they try to stuff it into the role of a traditional controller anyway, there are far more intelligent controllers to use for a lawnmower than a Wiimote.

This is just a retarded way to control something hoping to gain some attention because it has 'Wii' in the press release.

While its neat that someone did it and all that, its a stupid idea in general. Would you try to drive a car with a Wii mote, if you answer yes, give up your drivers license and life, you don't deserve to live.

Roomba (1)

Narnie (1349029) | about 5 years ago | (#27521987)

I don't get why they even bothered with the WiiMote. Why not just transplant a Roomba onto the mower, and GPS inputs as virtual boundaries for where there are no fences and let it go?
or you could just get off your fat ass and mow the damn lawn.

Mow Your Lawn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27522223)

http://www.wilkinsonsword.co.uk/women/mowlawn

Hey Kids!... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27522435)

Get off my y... oh snap, your cutting it for me? Ok, I guess you can stay on my lawn just this once.

Here's a better idea (1)

kkrajewski (1459331) | about 5 years ago | (#27522927)

Since it has GPS receivers, one should be able to click and drag the area to be mowed on a zoomed in Google Maps terrain view (just hope there's no cars or babies parked on your lawn now).

What if you drop the Wiimote? (1)

confused one (671304) | about 5 years ago | (#27522935)

Does it assume that the forward tumble means go forward fast? What happens as the Wiimote rolls across the ground? What happens if someone calls your name and you spin around to see who it was? A lawn mower seems to be kind of a dangerous device to have tethered to a remote that responds to hand/body motion. I tend to be in favor of having a human directly in control of a lawn mower.

Re:What if you drop the Wiimote? (1)

kylegordon (159137) | about 5 years ago | (#27525525)

Well, use a deadmans handle. Or in this case, Switch B underneath the wiimote. Failsafes are well tried and tested in industry.

Sorry bout that, I fell down... (1)

dudeeh (877041) | about 5 years ago | (#27522985)

This is all fun and games until you trip over a branch or something... Watch with horror as in that split second it takes you to hit the ground, you can see the lawnmower backing up at full speed...

Take it to the next level (1)

russotto (537200) | about 5 years ago | (#27526593)

An industrial lawnmower is a good start, but they really need to adapt this thing to a combine before next November. Nothing says Halloween like a driverless combine headed right at you.

and autonomus control doesn't make the headline??? (1)

ibeleo (319444) | about 5 years ago | (#27526763)

It's a robot with the ability to finish mowing after you define the parameters (edge of the field) and we're excited somebody is using a Wiimote???

Let me put it this way, which movie would you watch - the one where somebody successfully controls a robot from a distance, or the one where you give a robot a spinning deadly blade and then let loose?

See what I mean.

BTW trick question geeks would watch both

Peace out.

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