Designers repositioned the engine in a zero-turn radius type vehicle from rear to front so it looks and feels like a conventional lawn tractor. Two separate hydraulic motors, one for each side, propel traditional ZTR mowers which use dual levers to steer. Because they operate independently and at different efficiencies, maintaining straight lines or tight turns is difficult. A new drive system packaging the two hydraulic motors in one case clears that hurdle.
Also, a zero-turn machine with a steering wheel does not follow the same rules as conventional lawn tractors when backing up. When backing up a conventional lawn tractor, turning the steering wheel to the left guides the rear of the machine to follow, like having a car in reverse. However, when backing up a zero-turn tractor, if the steering wheel turns to the left, the front of the machine follows, but not the rear. A reverse logic system automatically switches the steering to react as operators expect.
Plastic rear fenders replace sheet metal for better durability during those occasional accidental encounters with trees and shrubs. Sight windows in the fenders display various fluid levels.
And, for mowing comfort, compartments for keys, wallets, and sunglasses are available, as well as cupholders for your beverage of choice. The SST tractor comes with a 16 or 18-hp Briggs and Stratton V-Twin Vanguard engine with OHV. Designer: Henry Dreyfuss Associates, Wood-Ridge, N.J. Price: $4,299.
Is that a computer in your pocket?
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The base station connects to a home computer. After installing the software, a parent or teacher adjusts the helmet on the child's head. An onscreen bar graph indicates when the helmet is fitted correctly. The display prompts the child to push a mode button under the bill of the helmet to activate the computer game. The child's brainwaves control the action on the screen. Attention training occurs through the brainwave information emitted by the child and the immediate visual feedback received from the game.
The helmet fits children from 6 to 12 years of age. Replacement sensors snap into the helmet which automatically recalibrates itself. Designer: Bolt, Charlotte, N.C., Spark, Richmond, Va. Price: $995.