Gardeners, there’s a new alternative to that heavy-duty weed whacker you hate using. This Massachusetts-based robotics company has created a small solar-powered robot that will do the dirty work for you.
Weeding robot Tertill is a tiny device that simply wheels around a garden chopping any weeds in sight. Launched on crowdfunding site Kickstarter this month, Tertill cuts weeds without the use of chemicals.
Created by Franklin Robotics, the device, which slightly resembles a turtle, uses energy from the sun to patrol a garden daily for weeds. How Tertill cuts down weeds is very simple. Using a variety of sensors, the robot determines a weed based on its height. If the robot encounters a plant tall enough to touch the front of Tertill’s shell, a sensor will signal the robot to turn away. On the flip side, if a weed is short enough to pass under Tertill’s shell, this will activate a different sensor that turns on the robot’s weed cutter.
Tertill cuts weeds off near the ground using a spinning string trimmer. With daily patrolling, Franklin Robotics says the risk of weeds continually growing is slim to none.
There is a way to save short plants from Tertill’s path of destruction. Plant collars are provided that can be placed in the ground around short plants to block the robot. The metal barriers can be removed once the plants grow tall enough for Tertill to recognize.
Using four-wheel drive, Tertill’s diagonal wheels are equipped to move through soft soil, sand, mulch and can also climb slopes. In order to keep the robot contained in one area, there needs to be a short barrier around the garden that it can detect with its sensors.
The device is water-proof and requires no charging. Tertill stores the energy it collects from the sun and uses it smartly during cloudy times, when less power is available. The weeding robot is also bluetooth compatible, allowing users to learn about conditions in their garden.
Tertill has 19 days left in its campaign but already surpassed its $120,000 USD goal, raising over $186,000 USD so far. The first shipment of the solar powered robot is expected to be released by May 2018.