Mowing used to be the bane of Aaron Howard’s life, until the solutions engineer created the mobot.
He estimates the automatic mower which he helped design for WA grasses and conditions saves him an hour a week in lawnmowing, which adds up to many days over a year.
Mr Howard’s interest in automatic mowers was fuelled by a desire to spend more time with family.
He turned it into a business after seeing a niche in the market against much costlier foreign versions.
“The day I found out I was going to be a father was the day I decided things needed to change around my home, ” he says.
“I sat down with my wife Kobi and told her there must be a more efficient way we can get every day household chores done.
“We wanted to make every minute count with our daughter so I set out to find solutions to these everyday time wasters.”
He made a list of chores and found automated solutions to vacuuming, mopping and lawnmowing, which has freed up 11 hours a week or 23 days a year. His research into time-saving devices led him to a pre-existing version of the mobot being manufactured in China but he was unhappy with the way it functioned.
Despite not having formal university qualifications in the field, his professional background as a solutions engineer and his current role in autonomous rail operations in the mining sector prompted him to consider how he could improve the design.
Along with his business partner, he made a few key changes.
Firstly, they re-distributed more power to the now heavier, solid core rear wheels which helped increase cutting speeds from 20 metres per minutes to 35 metres per minute.
“The parameters within the unit that control voltage distribution were changed with specifically designed software, ” Mr Howard says.
“This allowed us to change and maximize the RPM values of the brushless motor and adapt it to specific grass requirements.”
The additional weight from the wheels also ensured the machine had enough down force to handle the thicker more robust buffalo grasses prevalent in Perth.
The pair then broadened the range of the shave to between 2.5cm and 6cm, instead of the previous 3cm to 4cm range.
Mr Howard says Australians prefer closely shaved lawns because they are more suitable for games, sports and barbecues than springier grasses.
The pair also optimised the automated element by incorporating an LED display that allows users to set usage times and work areas.
Mr Howard says one of the most important changes was to reduce the cost per unit, by removing unnecessary ultrasonic sensors from the original design, after their testing shows the bump sensors were sufficient for the task.
© The West Australian
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