Oasa's R1 Robot Mower Combines a Classic Reel Cutter with Bleeding-Edge Autonomous Smarts

A rotary reel provides a scissor-like clean cut, while lidar-vision-IMU sensing offers accurate 3D mapping with a minimum of interaction.

Gareth Halfacree
21 days ago β€’ Robotics / Garden / Home Automation

Oasa, founded in 2022 with a focus on everyday robotics, has opened crowdfunding for its inaugural product: the Oasa R1, a smart robotic lawnmower built around a reel rather than a rotating blade.

"Traditional push mowers require endless effort, while robotic rotary mowers often leave your lawn looking patchy and uneven," Oasa's Chang Li claims in support of the company's take on robotic mowing. "The Oasa R1 stands apart as the world's first consumer-grade robotic reel mower, designed to deliver superior cutting performance akin to professional golf course maintenance standards, offering a stress-free lawn care experience."

A robot mower that delivers as clean a cut as a hand-powered reel mower? That's what Oasa promises from its R1. (πŸ“Ή: Oasa)

The blade system in the R1 has more in common with a traditional human-powered push-mower than most electric or robotic equivalents. A series of blades, which can be sharpened automatically by the mower, are arrange in a reel, which spins and pushes against the edge of the housing β€” cutting like scissors. This, the company says, provides a cleaner cut with less damage to the grass than its rivals, which are largely based on having a single large blade which spins horizontally and cuts like a sword.

The R1's not just about its blades, though. As you'd expect from a smart robot mower, Oasa's creation includes an on-board computing system with input from a lidar sensor, cameras, and inertial measurement unit (IMU) which are combined through visual-inertial odometery (VIO) to build an accurate point-cloud model of your garden. This, the company says, can be started in as little as 15 minutes after opening the box β€” in contrast to devices which rely on the installation of boundary wires or RTK base stations.

The company claims its reel provides a far cleaner cut than the single horizontal blade of most robot mowers. (πŸ“Ή: Oasa)

When the Oasa R1 isn't mowing, it charges automatically in its docking station β€” delivering a claimed two-hour cutting time from a four-hour wireless charge. It returns home when it detects rain, too, and communicates over dual-band Wi-Fi or LoRa radios β€” with, of course, a companion app for smartphones and tablets and integration with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Home home automation platforms.

The Oasa R1 is now funding on Kickstarter, with hardware starting at $1,199 β€” a claimed $400 discount from its planned retail price β€” for "Super Early Bird" backers. Bundles, which include the mower, charging dock, battery, and "garage," which is a usually-optional cover for the docking station, are expected to be delivered by the end of this year.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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