If you’ve ever daydreamed about a team of robots doing your chores, your dreams are about to come true. At least when it comes to your garden.
A robotics company built a robot to weed your home garden for you. Because as the creators say, weeding sucks.
Tertill™ is a solar-powered robot that weeds gardens like a champ. Created by the same inventor as the Roomba®, a vacuum that cleans floors all by itself, the Tertill uses similar technology to keep your garden clean. Of weeds, that is.
This solar-powered, waterproof garden robot is a full-time weed whacker. Unlike you, it doesn’t go on vacation or get too busy to pull weeds. It lives permanently in the garden.
Because it’s waterproof, there’s no need to bring it inside when it rains. And it runs on solar power, converting the light into electricity and storing the energy in a battery. So, unlike your phone, you don’t need to charge it. Ever.
Clouds don’t deter this smart robot either. On cloudy days, it conserves its energy, patrolling the garden less often, which works out anyway because weeds tend to grow slower when they have less light. But on sunny days, look out. It’s full-on weed clearing mode.
And organic gardeners, get excited. Tertill doesn’t use any nasty chemicals to get rid of weeds. Just mechanics.
How it works
This little green guy looks like a friendly robot (like BB-8 or R2-D2.) But it’s not chummy with weeds. When its sensors spot a weed, it chops the weed off close to the ground using a small nylon string on its base that spins quickly. Kind of like a mini guillotine.
Conventional gardening wisdom says that you need to pull up or dig out weeds to their roots to get rid of them. But because the Tertill whacks weeds daily, even if a weed sprouts, the Tertill wears it down over time. A root or seed only has so much energy and as the Tertill continues to cut it down daily, eventually the weed uses up its energy and dies.
The wheels on the Tertill are also specifically designed to slightly till up the dirt, damaging any pre-emergent weeds.
A smart robot
Don’t worry about the garden robot accidentally chopping down your growing plants, though. The Tertill uses the height of the plant to decide whether to cut it or not. If the plant is taller than an inch, the robot leaves it alone. If it’s shorter than an inch, it gets the chopping block.
The robot uses sensors to figure this out. If a plant touches the front of its shell, a sensor tells it to turn around. But if it runs over a short plant, a sensor at its base alerts it to turn on its weed cutter.
You’re probably wondering about seedlings.
Tertill provides “plant collars” you can place around baby plants to tell Tertill to back off. Simply remove them after the plant grows above an inch.
Because Tertill never takes a day off, it can easily handle removing weeds in up to a 100 square foot garden. And potentially more square footage if your area gets lots of sunny days.
While this garden robot is certainly smart, it doesn’t know when to stop. You need a garden barrier, so the Tertill doesn’t wander away and start weeding your lawn, the street, your pet.
But really. Any barrier will work: chicken wire, the edge of a raised bed, or pavers. Anything to tell it to turn around.
And it has four-wheel drive for a reason. Tertill powers over sand, soft soil, and mulch (so long as the mulch isn’t too loosely packed and doesn’t have big chunks.) Tertill also goes up slopes. But keep in mind it needs some room to do its work. It can’t move through densely packed flower or garden beds.
And if you want to know what Tertill’s up to while you’re away, there’s an app for that. Tertill comes with its own app for iOS and Android that tells you statistics and conditions about your garden and what Tertill’s been up to.
Where to find it
After creating six prototypes since May 2015, the solar-powered garden robot’s creative team, Franklin Robotics, launched a Kickstarter in June 2017. The company started a Kickstarter so it could place a large enough order to produce the robots cost-effectively. While the Kickstarter has closed now, you can pre-order a Tertill. One robot costs $249 plus shipping. Two robots cost $449 plus shipping. Estimated delivery is August 2018.
Gardening just got a whole lot easier.
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