This weekend as I drove through upstate New York and Pennsylvania, one single thing constantly distracted me from the road: leaves. The fall foliage in the areas that I traveled through was truly out-of-control-beautiful but I couldn’t get help thinking about the damp, sore muscle-inducing mess that the leaves will make as they fall.

Back in Brooklyn, I live in a rental apartment in a tree-sparse neighborhood so leaf cleanup doesn’t personally impact me too much. But as I walk around leafy sections of Brooklyn and see homeowners and supers in front of buildings clutching noisy gas-powered leaf blowers and tedious, old school rakes to tame the leafy masses, I often think: There must be an easier way.

Enter Michigan-based industrial designer Rury Vizcarra’s ingenious design concept, the PowerRake. This human-powered device provides an alternative to the easiest but most eco-unfriendly leaf cleanup tools — gas- and electric-powered leaf blowers and lawn mowers — and to the most cumbersome but lowest impact leaf cleanup tools — common, clog-prone garden rakes.

The PowerRake operates on a quite simple, user-friendly level: using a conveyor belt system, the wheeled device picks up errant leaves with a set of rake-like metallic teeth and sends them to a handy, removable catch-sack. When the sack becomes full, empty it at your compost heap, and voila! No more mess.

Check out these nifty explanatory renderings of the PowerRake ...

Via [Re-Nest] via [Yanko Design]

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.