University of Minnesota student invents ‘Roomba for snow’


What began as a sixth grade science project, was born out of a childhood pet peeve.

“I hated having to wake up an hour early before I already had to wake up for school, just to go outside and shovel,” said Max Minakov, a Sophomore at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.

It’s since developed into Nivoso.

“Nivoso actually means “snowy” in Latin,” said Minakov.

Minakov’s robot cleans during the storm. No matter how much snow falls, Minakov said the robot can keep up.

Minakov said he’s been inspired by his inventor grandfather. The two teamed up to build a playground and tree houses together, now it’s all led to this.

Nivoso won the 2023 Minnesota Cup, competing against other University of Minnesota students and winning US$26,000 in prize money.

The hope is to also help those who are unable to shovel.

“Having something like this possibly offered for them could save not only just a lot of time, but also just a lot of hassle and concerns that people have going into the winter season,” said Minakov.

Minakov is now trying to enter the commercial space. He’s garnered interest from snow clearing companies, which he would partner with.

This is still the beta version of the robot. A finalized design, for the public, is expected to be ready sometime next winter.

Nivoso is modular, meaning with future development, it could take on other tasks like dispersing salt and lawn mowing.

Mikakov said he want to inspire other young entrepreneurs to brainstorm solutions that’ll solve common problems.

“If you just go around being a problem solver, you start getting solutions like this, and I think that will propel the next generation forward,” said Minakov.


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