If you’re a gardening enthusiast, you’ll know how fulfilling it is to see your plants grow with all your care. Unfortunately, it can be very tiring (and irritating) to clean out those weeds that try to destroy your labor of love. If only it were as easy as doing a quick vacuum in your living room. Well, the Tertill is a new product that can do that! It’s a roomba-inspired weed-killing machine.
According to the company, they chose the roomba shape, because it made the most sense for the task at hand. CEO Rory MacKean said in an interview with Techcrunch, “We actually tried to get away from the circular shape for a while. “We want something that’s robust and rugged, with a rectangular shape. We wanted to make it look like a tractor: four-wheel drive, corners. But then the corners don’t make sense. It would get itself into a situation where it was hard to back out without damaging anything. You can’t turn in place without damaging plants.”
The circular shape of the machine with its sensors helps the robot in avoiding contact with useful plants that are taller than an inch. The company is also including small metal guards to keep the machine from bumping into younger plants.
The Tertill was designed to stay outdoors, as it is equipped and powered by a large solar panel on the top of the machine. It needs around two hours to charge a day to be able to perform its daily garden maintenance.
Tertill’s main job is to keep weeds under control, not to uproot them. Although it would be much better to do so, the machine would need a lot more features to be added than a $200 robot can give. What it does though is till the soil and damage weeds while they are still young.
The company is currently planning to extend the functionality of the device. MacKean said “There are some additional options we’re looking at for Tertill. Connecting to in-ground sensors and adding more capabilities to the robot itself to provide greater insight to the gardener about the microclimate in their garden, connectivity to automated sprinkler systems to provide greater control, and additional methods of defining the robot’s boundary.”