We have to admit, this winter season has been pretty easy on our backs; without much snow so far, our snowblowers have been hibernating in garages all across central Minnesota, except for a few days this year, so it's easy to forget how tedious that job can be. On top of that, statistics say that people over 45 aren't even supposed to shovel snow, because of the health risks involved. That's why I'm pretty happy that a young man from the Upper Midwest named Minakov, has an invention that he's been working on since he was in sixth grade.

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Minakov said in an interview with the Carlson School of Management, "I really, really hated snow shoveling.  As a kid, you're either doing it after school or you're getting up at 5 a.m. to do it, which I had a hard time doing. I knew there had to be something easier."


Minakov grew up with a grandfather who was an inventor, and it seems to have rubbed off. He and his grandfather would build all kinds of things when Minakov was a kid, and the tedious job of shoveling snow stuck with him.


Minakov started working on an idea to make life for him and others better in Minnesota and other snowy locations. He has now created a self-activating snow-clearing robot to clear driveways and sidewalks. The robot runs on its own, and basically works like a roomba vacuum. It can keep your space clear 24/7 without the assistance of you and your shovel or snowblower.

"I want people to see Nivoso robots at the hardware store right next to a snow blower and people be faced with the choice of whether or not they want the back pain from manually plowing the rest of their life," Manikov said.

Manikov also says he hopes that every nursing home and other zero-tolerance facilities in the country will have their sidewalks kept clear at all times by Nivoso robots during every snowstorm that comes along.

Minakovs' invention was the winner of the Student Division of the 2023 MN Cup this past fall, and earned him a total of $26,000 in seed money. He already has interest from some large snow-clearing companies and is working with some senior living facilities to show off his invention and what it can do.

If you'd like to take his invention for a test drive, you can sign up to be a part of the beta testing that will begin over the 2024-2025 Winter season.

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