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Roomba-like tech heads for the garden

Tertill whacks weeds, so you don't have to pick them
Tertill whacks weeds, so you don't have to pick them
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An earlier Tertill prototype
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An earlier Tertill prototype
Tertill whacks weeds, so you don't have to pick them
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Tertill whacks weeds, so you don't have to pick them

For people who hate vacuuming, there's already the Roomba robotic vacuum. However, what if weeding is the task that you hate? Well, there may soon be something for that, too. Entrepreneur Joe Jones – inventor of the Roomba – is now developing a little weed-whacking robot known as Tertill.

The wheeled device is weatherproof and solar-powered, meaning that you should just be able to leave it out in your garden without bothering to charge it or take it in when it rains.

Using some of those good ol' "proprietary algorithms," it continuously patrols the soil.

Capacitive sensors in its front bumper tell it to back off and turn around whenever it encounters tall, mature plants or other obstacles. Those sensors will also keep it from leaving the garden, as long as the garden is surrounded by a short fence, wooden borders, or something else for it to encounter.

An earlier Tertill prototype
An earlier Tertill prototype

Additional capacitive sensors in its underside detect weed seedlings that are short enough to pass under its bumper. When this happens, it stops and activates its bottom-mounted string trimmer (aka weed-whacker), cutting the seedling down. In order to spare the seedlings of desired plants from that same fate, users place supplied plastic collars around them.

Although Tertill was initially announced a few months ago, Jones informs us that a crowdfunding campaign should begin sometime this summer (Northern Hemisphere), with backers receiving their robots by the end of the year. Its estimated retail price is US$300.

If you're interested in getting an alert when the campaign starts, you can subscribe to the mailing list via the link below.

Source: Franklin Robotics

3 comments
Bob Stuart
Finally! Gardening can be fun, but I want to be replaced. I expect this market to explode. Weed sprouts can probably be withered by quite modest laser power. Within a few years, these things could take over organic farming, and then all farming, quietly tending and harvesting a mixed permaculture in which they recognize each plant, and can select seed for next year. They will even conserve on path area, operating from the shade.
MK23666
I don't even garden but I'd buy one!
Mark Pettit
Just need it to pluck iberia snails out of my garden too, and it would be perfect