Josh Smith, a quadriplegic, was tired of paying someone to mow his lawn and he took action. He searched the web to check out the newest technology. “Nowadays there’s a robot that can do everyday tasks so I figured there must be one to cut grass,” he says. In his search, Josh found some Roomba style lawnmowers, but those devices did not meet his needs. Therefore, Josh created his own lawnmower.
“There are some (lawnmowers) there but they’re expensive and you actually can’t drive them with a remote control. They’re more like a Roomba that just goes back and forth around your yard until it cuts everything. I have a lot of different sections of my yard so this option wouldn’t work for me. “
Josh used the following equipment to build his lawnmower:
- Two power wheelchair wheels with motors
- Two 12V 20 amp hour batteries
- Motor controller
- Basic RC controller with receiver
- Electric lawnmower
- Two switch light switch
- Charging port for batteries
- Wood or whatever materials needed to build the frame
For the actual building of the lawnmower, Josh states, “To dumb it down I used two power chair wheels with the motors already attached. Bought 2 12 volt batteries to run everything and a motor controller to control the two motors. Using a simple RC car/plane remote I control the wheels. Basically sending a signal to each wheel to go forward, back, or stop. There’s no programming for anything, just plug it in and play.”
Trial and Error
Josh’s dad helped him in building the lawnmower. Josh says they went through a little trial and error period with few variations of the device. The first version of the lawnmower used a manual reel motor. “I figured this would be easier for me to use in less maintenance. But it turned out it was harder to mow the grass and drive straight lines with it then I thought” says Josh.
In his newest version of the device, Josh uses an electric lawnmower. The father and son altered the wiring of the lawnmower so Josh could turn it on with a flip of a switch. Josh states, “This way I don’t have to worry about a pull cord for gas mowers.”
What a cool invention to increase independence!
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