Dane Kouttron’s ‘Chomper’ works solo in clearing his driveway. (credit: Twitter)

MIT Researcher Creates Semi-Autonomous ‘Chomper’ for Snow Removal

After the record-breaking snowstorm in Arizona last week, residents would have benefited from having a Chomper. Dane Kouttron, a researcher at MIT’s nuclear reactor lab, got fed up with having to shovel snow out of his driveway. So he invented a semiautonomous snowblower that is becoming the rage of his Cambridge, MA neighborhood. He calls it Chomper.

After a storm blew a few inches into Boston last week, Kouttron took Chomper out for a test drive. Alezsu Bajak, a professor who teaches at Northwestern University, noticed it while it worked, took a video of Chomper and posted it on Twitter.

“Just a semi-autonomous snowblower in Cambridge, that’s all,” Bajak wrote.

As of the Friday, the short clip had been viewed thousands of times, unexpectedly launching Kouttron’s robot to stardom as it circulated on news stations across the country.

“I was actually just testing out different things and working on a few software bugs,” Kouttron said. “I hadn’t anticipated any of the wild responses that resulted from it. I’m going to evaluate if there’s a desire to have this contraption out there in the wild. The more robots, the better.”

In the meantime, he plans to keep working on the one he has at home.

“I’ll be continuing software updates,” he said, “and looking forward to the next blizzard.”

Kouttron once worked on the robot-fighting television series “BattleBots.

Below is Bajak’s video and Tweet of “Chomper:”

Northern Arizona could have used a fleet of Chompers.

read more at bostonglobe.com