Remember when you were a kid and you would grab a handful of chalk to go draw stick figures on your driveway? Well, now that you’re all grown up, you’ve traded the chalk for a lawn mower and traded drawing for yard maintenance. Bad deal, right? A team of researchers at University of Tokyo must think so because they’re working on a machine called the Grassffiti that will allow the user to leave their mark on their greens. Random npc number two in the original Pokemon games said it best: technology is incredible.
The Grassffiti employs 16 servomotors that push the grass a certain way as it’s being cut. If you brush your hand over a carpet, you’ll notice it gets darker or lighter depending on the direction. This is due to the light reflecting toward or away from the eye depending on the direction the fibers are bent. This same quality applies to grass, and the Grassffiti takes advantage of the fact by pushing the grass as it cuts the blades.
But how does it know which direction to bend the grass? First, a companion app lets users create their own design. That drawing is tracked by the Grassffiti’s encoder, which analyzes both the pattern and the machine’s movement to tell the servomotors when and how to push the green stuff. All of this sounds like a fantastic way to pay homage to your favorite video game or, if you’re in a vengeful mood, creatively flip off a lousy neighbor. But before you get too excited, the Grassffiti is only a research project and is not available to consumers. At least not yet. Let’s face it, now that we know it’s possible, it’s only a matter of time.
Keep your attention on The Nerd Stash, we’ve got plenty more gadgety stuff to show you!