While it won’t help you plant seedlings or harvest crops, Tertill, as Roomba co-creator Joe Jones has named it, will take on the back-breaking chore of weeding your garden. Let’s face it: weeding is the most boring task involved in gardening, and it seems the job is never done. New weeds sprout almost over night and, if left alone, choke the plants you actually want in your garden. And this is where Tertill can help.
The solar powered robot relies on sensors to detect small plants and chop them up. You can protect seedlings and small crops with special collars, keeping them safe from your assistant. Tertill can also be charged via a USB port so it keeps going even in cloudy weather, and it is waterproof as well. It can also pair with your phone through Bluetooth. Plus, it’s kind of cute. You can see it in action here.
If you are considering getting one, there are a few things you should be aware of. First, your plants or crops will need to be positioned far enough away from each other to allow Tertill to navigate around your garden. Tertill is also known to get stuck on steep terrain, so you want to avoid planting your garden on a hill. You will also need to make sure that your garden is lined with a low wall along its perimeter so that your Tertill doesn’t wander off. The bot is designed for home gardens, and would not be very efficient in very large or commercial gardens. Finally, most gardeners swear that weeds need to be pulled out by the roots, but Franklin Robotics, the firm who designed the bot, is counting on the weeds dying after being repeatedly cut off. If you’re not set on the root pulling method, this might just be the bot for you.
Franklin Robotics is launching a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign on June 13th. Retail price is set at a steep $300, but Jones and Franklin Robotics are counting on the fact that convenience and time saved will prevail. And they may be right. For $300, you could be enjoying the fruit of your labor sitting in the shade watching your weeding bot take care of the hard work. Not a bad investment, in our humble opinion.