We’re getting closer and closer to the sci-fi tech doohickeys we see in the movies. And why wouldn’t we? Now, a lawn mowing robot gets OK from the FCC, tomorrow maybe we will be all able to buy little Star Wars-like droids to do our every whim.
To quote former President George W. Bush, “I think we agree, the past is over.” Well it’s beginning to look that way, however tautological the statement may seem. The iRobot company has been challenging our perceptions of the future constantly.
11 Years ago, the company amazed us all with the launch or Roomba, the automated vacuum cleaner that knew how to clean, where to clean, and when to stop. Now, after all that time, the device is still on the market, with the Roomba 880 which launched in 2013.
But ever since the first model, people have been asking how long it will take for the company to make an autonomous land mower device that could take the burden of walking through your yard in the mowing season with a big manually controlled device with you.
And now, the robot lawn mower is almost here. The elusive company has apparently secretly been working on just such a device, and stealthily applied for it to be approved by the Federal Communications Commission. And it has, and thus the silence was broken.
The FCC may seem like a weird commission to need approval from, yet it is because the device functions via wireless beacons.
The FCC thus gave iRobot a waiver saying that they are allowed to make and sell the product. Although there were controversies that such a device, which said that its wireless system by way of which it guides itself, would interfere with radio telescopes. The opposition by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory was invalidated by the FCC who said that there is absolutely no danger of interference, if wireless guidelines set by iRobot themselves are to be observed.
iRobot has expressed its gratitude to the FCC, saying that this will also allow them to continue to experiment and make devices for lawn maintenance with wireless technology. However, the exact launch date for the first model has yet to be given, as the company wishes to improve its model to make it more ecofriendly and safer to use.
There currently exist other devices that automatically mow the lawn, yet these are far more complicated to operate, since they require underground fences to guide the robot. Needless to say, the iRobot’s version presents a far simpler option.
Image source: jewocity.com