Powered by sunlight and inspired by laziness, a new product is set to light up the gardening industry in 2018 – the Tertill, the word’s first robot designed to weed your garden.
From the company that brought you the first autonomous vacuum cleaner, iRobot is set to launch its new garden model in May 2018. Touted on Kickstarter recently, pledges of $249 or more will see you with a Tertill of your very own once they begin rolling off the production line.
The small solar powered unit relies on inbuilt sensors to identify weeds and a mini weed wacker to repeatedly cut them to the ground. Precious seedling can be protected with little pegs that prevent the unit from driving over them and misidentifying your Himalayan poppies as troublesome trifolium.
According to their website, all the unit needs to function effectively is a sunny aspect and a shallow lip around garden beds and paths to keep it from running away, or turning on you as in some Asimov-inspired nightmare.
While the idea has merit and appeal (it’s already exceeded its funding target on Kickstarter), its usefulness remains to be proven.
With the perniciousness of many tap-rooted weeds, such as dandelions, it doesn’t take much horticultural pondering to realise the Tertill has a limited application. It would only be effective with some annual weeds. And letting it loose in a garden bed that’s been mulched heavily might cause it some problems as well.
A useful weeder on garden pathways though? Perhaps. If it gives the likes of glyphosate and other herbicides a run for its money then that’s a plus.
One major point against it as far as Garden Drum’s concerned is that such products relegate gardening tasks to household chores, rather than the enjoyable hobby it is. Weeding is a contentious issue, especially amongst gardeners; you either like it or you despise it. If you’re the latter then maybe this little robotic friend is for you.
Check out the video below. Are you tempted or horrified at the prospect?