PROVO, Utah – Three brothers from Provo recently invented a remote-operated lawnmower that won the grand prize at the StartFEST competition last weekend, and the device takes commands from the user through Google Gigabit Fiber.
The Leonard brothers–Doug, Dan and David–say they learned at an early age from their father, who is an engineer, never to throw anything away.
“He taught us that, things that look worthless, could be made into something really cool,” Doug Leonard said. “So he was always tinkering, always, you know, we never would just throw something out, we would try and fix it before we would give up on anything.”
The brothers are all software engineers. They recently made device called "Google Mows My Lawn" that is operated by typing commands into a smart phone or on a website.
“It’s like text message activated,” Doug Leonard said. “So you’re sending messages in a chat room and those messages then drive it.”
They entered their invention into the StartFEST Gigabit Hackathon in Provo on Saturday.
The competition gave them 24 hours to put it together.
The brothers say the judges were amazed when they brought it on stage and were declared the winners.
“They were blown away,” Doug Leonard said. “I think they had lower expectations for the Hackathon and, when we rolled in with this, they were quite excited.”
Doug Leonard said he eventually hopes to get it running in his yard so gamers across the world can mow his lawn for him.
“And as soon as we have the logic in there so it recharges on its own, and won’t drive off and chase my neighbor’s dog, then we’ll push it live and, you know, let the Internet community mow our lawn,” he said.
The Leonard brothers plan to put a list of instructions on how to build the lawn mower on a website for free for anyone who wants to learn how to build one. They’ll be tweeting it out when its ready. Visit Instructables.com or follow Doug Leonard on Twitter.