Yanking weeds from a garden is a chore that keeps me busy all summer long. I love how the flower beds look when I’m done rooting around in the soil extracting the weeds. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last long. The weeds are usually back within a few days.
This is why I was so excited to learn about a robot that can do some of the backbreaking weeding for me. Created by roboticist Joe Jones – inventor of the Roomba – the Tertill from Franklin Robotics is designed to live in your garden and take care of the weeding, come rain or shine.
In a similar fashion to how a Roomba vacuums a floor, the Tertill uses design elements and a variety of sensors to patrols the garden daily, avoiding plants and obstacles while looking for weeds to eliminate.
Tertill has a very simple method: weeds are short, plants are tall. A plant tall enough to touch the front of Tertill’s shell activates a sensor that makes the robot turn away. A plant short enough to pass under Tertill’s shell, though, activates a different sensor that turns on the weed cutter.
Because Tertill’s approach is height-based, put one of the provided plant collars around short plants until they are tall enough for Tertill to recognize. When Tertill approaches the collar, it will recognize it and turn away.
Tertill gets its power from the sun. When there is sunlight—even on cloudy days—Tertill’s solar cell converts the light into electricity. The robot stores the energy in a battery. You don’t need to charge or replace Tertill’s battery. Tertill uses its stored power intelligently—during cloudy stretches, when less power is available, it patrols for weeds less often. Tertill is more aggressive during periods with more sun.
And here’s another reason to check it out: Because Tertill cuts weeds daily, you won’t need to douse your garden with chemical herbicides to keep the weeds under control. It’s a safer more effective method, not to mention better for your back.
Unfortunately, you may have to wait until next year to get your hands on this robotic weed cutter. Tertill is currently raising funds on Kickstarter and is expected to be available May 2018.
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