"Water Hobo" sprays yard-cutters with water

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Ken was tired of little punks cutting across his yard, so he built a "Water Hobo." It consists of an infrared vision system that detects people that trample across his lawn and an automatically-activated water nozzle to soak them. Be sure to watch the videos. Link (Thanks, Alex!)


  1. Guys like this ruin the neighborhood.

    I live in a fenceless suburb. All the kids, and many adults, cut between the houses. So what? Isn’t the “get off my lawn, you kids” a Simpson’s stereotype. Do you really want to be “that guy?”

  2. That fact that there isnt footage of some kids coming back with a baseball bat and just demolishing the thing kinda proves that you’re dealing with the gentlest .01 % of today’s extant youth. Most places would see this thing crushed at the house being spraypainted for good measure. I’d be happy with those rare harmless-type kids if I were you.

  3. It is a neat little impromptu device. I can say that being adult. I can’t believe those little buggers have not destroyed it with rocks or the classic bb gun approach. Traffic has probably picked up rather than diminished with kids showing other kids the thing.


  4. I watched both videos and I still can’t decide if the image on the right is a small, white, terrier rearing up on its back legs, a kid in light-colored clothes and a white baseball cap, or a trespassing terrier furry.

    If it’s the last, it’s doomed to become three thousand LJ icons.

  5. @Kenneth: “So what?” Try working, reading, studying or programming with a bunch of undisciplined brat kids running around yelling and screaming on your property, or anywhere in your neighborhood. It’s rude and it’s wrong, and I’d like to see parents who allow their kids to behave like that put in jail for making another generation of selfish, inconsiderate jerks.

  6. I have a half-acre yard in a fairly urban area.. the kids in the neighborhood play football and such in it. I spoke to them and said it was okay as long as they stayed off my grape arbor (one of them was on it at the time) and out of my delicate trees (apple, plum, and peach trees – the maple and walnuts can fare for themselves).. There’s nowhere else for them to play, and here they’re in sight of their parents. I do wish their parents would come talk to me about it; I’d still be cool with it, just wouldn’t mind a cookie. Oh well.

    I remember growing up and having so much larger of a safe “wander zone” than modern kids. I would hate to take away the one sizable place they have to play. Even if it means I have to kick the occasional pair of shoes out of the way while mowing.

    I hope that if any of them get hurt playing in my yard, their parents won’t sue. I figure if they did, that’s what insurance is for, and the other parents in the ‘hood would shame the suer into dropping it. (since their kids would lose the only safe place to play.)

    I have noticed the yard’s a bit barer, but who cares.

  7. (Oh, but it would be so fun to put in-ground sprinklers triggered by motion…)

    Oh, and feedback on the device: Why didn’t he use a security system PIR detector with a delay module? $25-$50 worth of parts, no programming, very minimal power consumption… he could use the output to trigger both the sprinkler and the recorder. It also would eliminate the misfires and delay. Instant-on.

    Us geeks frequently overthink problems. :-)

  8. We had the neighborhood basketball court on an empty lot we own next door. It worked well for almost 30 years. People started to wander in to look over the back fence, some drove in never asking or caring that we were out on our patio and watching. We put a 5′ fence midway in the lot. Music got louder, seems they couldn’t play ball without boombox tunes, cigarette butts and empty beers were routinely left, nobody helped with weeding or cleanup. The brooms were broken on the backboard’s post. Then the beer drinkers started standing behind the trees to pee, hidden from the street; but in full view from the kitchen window. We moved the fence up between the court and the street, no problems.

    “Good fences make good neighbors.” – Robert Frost

  9. Hmm. Someone who love gadgets more than people. And isn’t very good a making the gadgets. I’m unimpressed.

  10. Oh boy would I love to have something like this for the neighborhood dogs. The few kids around here are good enough and actually almost listen sometimes, but the dogs drive me crazy.

    Maybe turn it into some kind of game, where my iPhone alerts me that something is in the yard, then I can manually aim and fire with live video! Oh that would be awesome.

  11. When I was a kid we invented special time-delay firecrackers to take out ordinance like this. That stupid red-eye robot would be diversioned and catastrophied. “Squirt this, bitch.”

    Kids playing on dirt. *His* dirt. Oh the horror. So, instead of interacting in an adult hum way, he resorts to automation. I see sickness in this fable. In miniature, the same sickness that pervades our foreign and domestic policies.

  12. JPhilby, going outside to tell kids to play elsewhere is just as distracting and frustrating as having them there. Worse, the kids will frequently go away for five minutes and then start right up again.

    If I could automate getting rid of these little monsters, never turned into people by their parents, I would. But if you think automation isn’t a good method, then what do you recommend? Police? A lawsuit? Those take forever to work. What do you recommend to get rid of the kids now and keep them gone?

  13. “If you think automation isn’t a good method, then what do you recommend? Police? A lawsuit? Those take forever to work. What do you recommend to get rid of the kids now and keep them gone?”

    Move to the land where there are no kids. Or move someplace where you can fence in all your property and be sure no one will come near you.

    Police? Lawsuits…for what? “Your honor, kids were playing in my dirt. MY dirt.” You’re kidding, right?

    Neighborhood kids run all over our yard. Only once in the last 4 years I’ve lived hear did something get broken. I talked to the kid and he was really nice about it. Join the human race.

  14. Kenneth said: Move to the land where there are no kids. Or move someplace where you can fence in all your property and be sure no one will come near you.

    I’m in the process of making this happen now. I’m taking the expense of the failure of parents to discipline their kids and the failure of the law to discipline the parents. I only wish I could successfully sue to recover the time and money I’m going to have to lay out to work and read and study and sleep on my own schedule.

    You’ve taken the position that I am not entitled to peace and quiet in my own home. You’ve taken the position that trespassing is acceptable. You’ve taken the position that expecting the courts to enforce the laws supporting my peace and quiet and my right to say who walks on the land I’m going to have to buy is frivolous. Are you kidding? Those aren’t seriously positions you’re trying to support, are you?

    I’ll join the human race when there is one; until now, all I’ve seen is a bunch of uncivilized savages whose attitude is, “I can do whatever I want and there’s nothing you can do to stop me.”

  15. @stevew

    Have you read Mending Wall ? Robert Frost did not encourage wall building in his poem; he questioned it. Excerpt:

    Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
    What I was walling in or walling out,
    And to whom I was like to give offence.

  16. I am all for this.

    Should be legal to have a similar device that shoots bb’s or fire.

    We may have to accept other peoples brat kids in restaurants, on airplanes and in hotels, we should not have to put up with them on our own property.

    I finally moved to downtown Montreal where I see far more dogs than children. It has been very peaceful.

  17. BDGBill, you really are a fruitcake. Running across your yard is not an offense that merits injury, maiming, or death.

    When I lived on Staten Island, my back yard had people cutting across it. I had two problems with that. One was that they never noticed they were running straight across my herb garden. The other was that the house next door had two scary break-ins, both of them through the windows that faced their back yard.

    The next time I pruned my climbing rose bushes, I wove the cut-off canes into loops that stuck up out of the top of our low chainlink fence. I wove in more thorny rose trimmings every time I pruned. My back yard quickly stopped being an informal travel path.

    But seriously, what’s the matter with this guy’s device? The usual answer would be a higher, nastier fence. This solution says that kids can cut across if they’re willing to get soaked. It strikes me as a reasonable compromise.

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