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Computer, mow! Is there a lawn in your Treo's or Centro's future?

Mon May 12, 2008 - 2:08 PM EDT - By Jay Gross

Your smartphone is getting another new capability: mowing the lawn. The trick is made possible by a robotic lawn mower that you control with Bluetooth. The mower doesn't really need much control. It does its thing unattended, though it's quite a thrill to watch.

Kyodo America has been making robotic mowers for a while. No biggie, there. The new wrinkle is controllability by Bluetooth signals, for example from your Treo or Centro. The 30-pound, $3,500 robots navigate around the lawn, herded by a guide wire that defines the perimeter. They detect objects and mow around them, and automatically dock to their charging station when their batteries need a boost. The newer models even monitor grass growth to decide when to mow. The latest wrinkle, however, just introduced with the company's Model LB3500, is smartphone control.

Currently, only Palm's Treo 650 is mentioned in the LawnBott's compatibility list, and it's still undergoing testing. But there's always Blackberry. Indeed, Bluetooth usability in the United States won't work fully until the company fixes some incompatibilities with the European system for which the system was developed – a few weeks.

The robotics made the New York Times' fabulously tantalizing Circuits column list last week, but for the whole story, check out the Kyodo's dedicated mower website.

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