Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Phrenological Robot Hair Mower

He was often observed aimlessly wandering the foothills of the Philtrum Valley
  [vote for,

About six or seven years ago we left the city and bought a house far out in the British countryside. I always fancied myself with a sizeable plot of land, a meadow full of goats (or maybe even alpaca), wild rabbits happily frolicking amongst the gardenia, the odd pheasant wandering through the long grass. It was a romantic vision.

The reality is meadow land, and particularly lawn, requires a fair bit of maintenance. Thankfully the goats (and alpaca) never materialised, but the rabbits are in abundance and we had to stop feeding the pheasants for they brought their friends, and they theirs, for tea and soon we had a sizeable 'herd' that left small deposits upon the patio in thanks.

For every weekend that it wasn't raining (and many where it was) I would find myself spending several hours walking back and forth, back and forth, forcing forward the mechanical gnawing beast that would carve immaculately neat stripes into the grass. I would carry heavy baskets of fresh clippings (inexplicably with the aroma of banana) to the compost heap where they would pile higher and higher as the season progressed. I would pour fresh petrol into the animal's throat when it was thirsty and wrestle wet clumps of grass from its jammed teeth when it overfed. It was in many ways enjoyable, especially in the spring where the midges had not yet hatched, the sun was not too hot and the gentle breezes would keep one's brow cool.

In the spring I could just about keep on top of it: my two or three hours a weekend would be enough to suppress the growth. But come summer the grass would shoot up in defiance and each weekend I would target a different spot, only to find the areas I had covered the previous week returned to their prior state. It was a battle of wills and, it transpires, the grass has more will than I.

Last year I finally caved. I had wanted a compact tractor but instead we bought a robot. The robot now happily wanders the lawn nibbling, ever-so-slightly, upon the blades and fronds. The grass is finally defeated and I suddenly have time to actually enjoy the space with my children. The robot is pretty stupid: from what I can tell it wanders in the direction it is facing until it encounters an obstacle, at which point it turns to face a new way and carries on merrily with its chore. Despite this lack of intelligence the coverage is actually impressive and the lawn looks fantastic, though devoid of fancy stripes.

This ability to defeat the huge swathes of grass with continuous small cuts where I would fail with concerted chopping got me thinking when I was last shaving my head. Could I not have a similar (though obviously much smaller) mower upon my scalp, wandering my head like a rover upon a small planet, nibbling at the hairs upon my head as I go about my business as normal?

Obviously there are a few technical hurdles to overcome: there would obviously have to be boundaries as I am quite keen on my eyebrows and eye-lashes, though I would be happy for it to take care of my chin. I certainly would not want such a micro-machine lost in the tunnels of my nose chomping away lobes of my brain as I sleep or, worse, wandering down my body to get stuck into my nether regions.

Whereas my lawn mower will return to its home base in the corner of the garden to recharge when it tires, a phrenological mower would not have this option. Perhaps inductive charging could be integrated within a pillow or hat. Technical hurdles can be overcome and they must for the market is almost unbounded, for who would not want a robot razor upon their head? Not even Rapunzel, I'm sure, could resist.

oniony, Jul 06 2017


8th of 7, Jul 06 2017

       Correct spelling and puntuation - check.
Paragraph breaks - check.
Grammar - check.
Writing ability - check.
Impractical idea - check.

       Somebody lock the doors before he tries to leave.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 06 2017

       The idea lacks as-yet-undoable nano-technology, and thus does not require a reference to the help file (+)
normzone, Jul 06 2017

       Yes - a special hat is mandatory.
DenholmRicshaw, Jul 06 2017

       What stops it from falling off your head? Details. We need details!
xenzag, Jul 06 2017

       It could, perhapsably, have a multitide of small gripping claws, not unlike a head louse. This would, of course, prevent it from shaving the head completely (except as a rearguard action, leaving a single tuft somewhere), but would be quite secure.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 06 2017

       Indeed, MaxwellBuchanan has hit the nail upon the, ahem, head. I envisaged this either clinging to remaining hairs or placing small hooks into the follicles, like Velcro.
oniony, Jul 06 2017

       Hooks into the ears and nostrils would provide substantially better adhesion.
8th of 7, Jul 06 2017

       A somewhat larger embodiment could incorporate a high-powered electric vacuum unit to ensure reliable cranial contact via differential air pressure. Small electrically powered wheels could then execute a scalp trimming random walk. The resulting air flow would also ensure that all hair would be perfectly normal to the cranium while being sheared for a highly uniform result. Although its size eliminates the possibility of unexpectedly entering small orifices, mouth avoidance is critical in the event the user is stoned or asleep. Also, testing should be performed to reveal any need to avoid ears and eye sockets.
Whistlebritches, Jul 07 2017


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