grasshopper teamNawaf Almutairi, Sameen S. Ali, and Said Said hold up their Grasshopper yard waste lawnmower grass clippings bag.

Students design innovate time-saving way to collect lawnmower clippings

It’s only a short matter of time before lawnmowers start firing up and area homeowners are dumping their grass clippings into yard waste bags.

Now a group of engineering students has developed a simple yet ingenious way to make the whole process a lot easier: they’ve put the yard waste bag right on to the mower.

“It’s just making life easier for the consumer,” said Sameen S. Ali, part of the Grasshopper team, one of several groups to present their work at the industrial and manufacturing systems engineering capstone projects forum Friday in the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation. “The clippings go right in to the yard waste bag and you just take it out to the curbside.”

Capstone projects require fourth-year engineering students to draw upon all the knowledge they’ve gained during their time in university for a final project, often working with industrial partners to design new products or streamline systems to make them more efficient.

Many lawnmowers come equipped with a nylon bag that catches the clippings from the machine, but the team of Ali, Nawaf Almutairi, and Said Said thought they could save people a lot of time by eliminating the need to transfer the clippings from the nylon bag to the yard waste bag, by simply attaching the latter of the two right on to the mower.

They designed a frame to hold the bag and attach to the mower, as well as a new type of bag that includes a section of mesh venting to release the air exhausted from the machine. The group admits they still have some work to do before they could possibly market their idea.

“We need to work on a frame that’s adjustable and will fit most lawnmowers,” said Said.

For the first time, students this year were teamed up with students from the Odette School of Business, an initiative aimed at encouraging them to become more entrepreneurial.

Some of the other innovative ideas and working prototypes presented Friday included personalized bicycle seats and custom made medical casts made with 3D printers, a hand tool to reduce repetitive strain injuries for workers who make car seats, and a semi-automatic pill dispensing machine.