Photo via i-Shovel
Robots are cool, especially when they're solar powered and let you stay inside where it's warm and toasty while they do the hard labor of shoveling snow. Check out the i-Shovel, a solar powered, fully automatic robotic show shovel.
Watch a video after the jump. Touted as the first and only, the i-Shovel is a prototype device that can clear a 4,000 square foot driveway on a single battery charge, and can get its juice from the sun. It can sense when there is an inch or more of snow, and with Roomba-like abilities, clears out your pathway.
I-Shovel automatically detects the snow accumulation and cleans the drive way automatically. It has a built in computer to control the shoveling process and various sensors to figure out the perimeter. Unlike snow throwers that are usually used to clean snow after the storm, I-Shovel is designed to wake up and shovel snow when ever it senses reasonable accumulation of snow. This concept makes it possible to devise a shoveling mechanism with relatively low power consumption and no dangerous moving parts, enabling it to operate unattended. This is a convenience that was only available so far with heated drive ways which are much more expensive to own and operate.
You might not be able to get enough sun to charge this up to full very often during snowy winters, which means it'll most likely have to be supplemented at least a little with grid power. Also, it likely will break more often than your trusty shovel. But, if you're adamant about staying indoors while it's chilly and want a clean-running robot slave, this could one day be your solution.
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