Bottle openers. Matches. Remote controls. Abacuses. Human beings have invented tools to make their lives easier since the very first caveman decided that a piece of bone was more efficient at breaking up shells than his bare hands.
And yet, even in the 21st century – in an era of selfie sticks, smart toothbrushes and remote-controlled drones – we still punish ourselves with menial tasks like hanging up the washing and mowing the lawn.
While we're quite a distance from robotic laundry maids, keeping your grass trim and tidy is now a job that can be handled by very capable machines. Machines like Honda's robotic lawnmower.
Meet Miimo. This little chap loves nothing more than munching back on grass. Green grass, yellow grass, dead grass, weeds – whatever you want cut down, Miimo's your man. Or robot.
And the best part? You don't have to lift a finger.
Miimo can accurately zip around your garden cutting your grass without ever accidentally going off for an impromptu stroll down the high street. That's because once its boundary wire is laid out around the borders of your garden, it'll never venture beyond it. It's like keeping T. Rex at bay in Jurassic Park, minus the deadly claws and electric fences.
In action, you can choose from various grass lengths from 20-60mm and mowing patterns, ranging from straight lines in random directions (good for large areas) to neat diagonal zigzags (or a mixture of both). The Miimo even combs the grass straight as it cuts it, ensuring an even length across your whole garden. Even better, the small snippets of grass are turned into fine mulch, fertilising your garden and keeping your grass look shiny and healthy. Because it's worth it.
If you're worried about a bunch of rotating blades whirling around your garden, don't be. The Miimo comes packed with a whole host of features to ensure that little Timmy, Mr. Tibbles and your collection of garden gnomes, are all safe and sound.
For starters, the Miimo has a 360° floating cover. The second it comes into contact with anything from a squirrel to your foot, its blades will stop spinning instantly. The same thing happens the moment it's lifted or tilted, and it even sounds an alarm when it's off the ground, and won't start back up again until you've given it your blessing with a pin code.
Come rain or shine, morning, noon and night
The Miimo takes to rain like a fish takes to, well, water. It'll happily whizz around your garden tending to your lawn in a downpour (a big plus in the UK), and you can even schedule when you want it to get to work.
You can put it to work in the middle of the night too, as it's no louder than your average household fridge. And once it gets sleepy (read: low battery), it automatically makes its way back to the docking station and plugs itself in to charge. Adorable, isn't it? Now if only our smartphones did the same...
Under (and over) the hood
The Miimo packs in a 25-watt motor for each wheel, letting it trundle over uneven terrain without a care in the world, along with a 56-blade motor for optimum slicing.
The outside can take a beating too, thanks to a scratch-resistant top cover, and its tough bottom cover laughs off impacts like a heavyweight bouncer in front of a marshmallow firing squad.
Don't worry, be happy
No matter which model you go for, a Honda Authorised dealer will come round and help set it up, installing the docking station and boundary wire, before setting up your ideal schedule.
They'll even collect it for winter maintenance, and with a two-year warranty, you know your faithful Miimo is in safe hands.
There are three types of Miimo: the 300, 310 and 520.
The 300 can deal with small, regular shaped gardens with straighter edges and can cut up to 2,200m sq with a 300m maximum boundary. Its 310 brother manages the same area, but can deal with more complex gardens.
The 510 has a larger battery, and is suited to larger gardens up to 3,000m sq with a 500m boundary. It can tackle more complex terrain such as hills too.