American firm is working on a small robot that lives in gardens and spends its time roaming around chopping down weeds.
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Waterproof, solar-powered and free of any chemicals, the Tertill robot sounds like a gardener’s dream companion. It has been in development for over two years and is currently raising funds on Kickstarter (over USD 200,000 at time of writing, surpassing its USD 120,000 goal).
The robot has been designed by inventor Joe Jones, who was the brains behind the Roomba robot floor cleaner. It is powered via the solar panels on its roof, and as soon as it has enough power it sets off on its mission to find and chop down weeds. It uses height as a means of measuring whether or not something is a weed or plant – if its object is over an inch the Tertill will leave the plant alone, but if it’s shorter it gets snipped using a little cutting wire. The wheels are also designed to keep weeds from growing, trampling them as they sprout. Tertill also comes with plant collars that can be put around tiny plants to protect them from its wrath – it’ll touch the collar and immediately back off.
Connected to a user’s smartphone via bluetooth, the accompanying app (iOS and Android) shows the user information such as how many hours Tertill has been active, how much distance it’s covered, and how many weeds have been chopped. The Kickstarter page is open to pledges until July 12th, and customers can purchase a unit for a pledge of USD 249. The company aims to deliver by May 2018.
We are seeing more and more robots making things easier outside the home. Tarzan the Robot has been designed to help mass farming easier by monitoring crop health autonomously, and a robot fish has been engineered to help keep sea farms in good health. What other areas of life could such a robot assist with?