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Can't get a kid to mow? Get a robot

Americans may take pride in their well-groomed lawns, but that doesn't mean they relish the hours lost trimming their green acres every summer. Now automatic lawn mowers do the work for you.

Robomow by Friendly Robotics hit the market this spring. The 50-pound orange robot, which sells for $795, hooks up to wires that run along the edge of your lawn and can be switched to manual mode for an occasional workout with a remote control.

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But if you don't want the hassle of recharging batteries, a solar-powered unit by Husqvarna can be programmed to roam and clip your lawn.

However, it may be awhile before the old-fashioned mowers are relics of the past. Neither Robomow nor Solar Mower can tackle slopes with more than a 15-degree gradient. And larger yards present a challenge, too. It takes Robomow between two and 2-1/2 hours to cut 2,500 square feet - roughly the size of a tennis court.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society