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Home / Smart Harvest

Weeding sucks, let a robot do it

Tertill is a solar powered, self-charging and weatherproof weeding robot that weeds your vegetable and flower garden every day.

With Tertill, gardeners can now enjoy weed-free vegetable and flower gardens, without the monotony and frustration of weeding. More so, organic gardeners can breathe easy and enjoy a weed-free, chemical-free garden all season long.

How it works

Tertill lives in your garden and prevents weeds from becoming established. Using unique design elements and a variety of sensors, Tertill patrols the garden daily, avoiding plants and obstacles while looking for weeds to eliminate.

It distinguishes weeds from plants using a simple method: weeds are short, plants are tall. A plant tall enough to touch the front of Tertill’s shell activates a sensor that makes the robot turn away. A plant short enough to pass under Tertill’s shell, though, activates a different sensor that turns on the weed cutter.  

Since the robot’s approach is height-based, put one of the provided plant collars around short plants until they are tall enough for Tertill to recognise. When Tertill approaches the collar, it will recognise it and turn away.

The robot uses a spinning string trimmer, which cuts the weed off near the ground. Because Tertill lives in your garden and goes looking for weeds every day, weeds are always small when the robot finds them.

A whacked weed may sprout again, but sprouting takes energy stored in the seed or root. By coming back every day, Tertill never lets a weed develop the leaves it needs to replenish this energy, so eventually the weed gives up and dies.

Powering the robot

Tertill relies on solar energy. When there is sunlight — even on cloudy days — Tertill’s solar cell converts the light into electricity. The robot stores the energy in a battery. You don’t need to charge or replace Tertill’s battery.

It uses its stored power smartly. For instance, during cloudy stretches, when less power is available, it patrols for weeds less often and is more aggressive during periods with more sun. Fortunately, weeds grow more slowly when they have less light. 

The robot is ideal for 100 square feet garden. If you have an unusually large garden you might get better performance with more than one robot.

Four-wheel drive

If you are concerned about the robot getting stuck in the process of maneuvering your garden, you can rest in the fact that Tertill uses four-wheel-drive. This helps it move through soft soil, sand, and mulch, and also helps it climb slopes. Its distinctive diagonal wheels make Tertill more stable on slopes and help it get past certain terrain challenges. For safety reasons, it will not attempt to climb a slope over 40% grade (around 22 degrees).

It further relies on several sensors and clever programming to keep out of trouble. To detect objects like the garden fence and big plants, Tertill uses sensors similar to those found in many smart phones — the lightest touch is all it takes. To detect steep slopes, Tertill uses the same sort of sensor that tells your cell phone which way is up. Tertill can also sense if a motor stops turning — perhaps jammed by a rock — so it can protect itself from damage. It uses Bluetooth to communicate with your smartphone.

To keep the overexcited robot from wandering into your neighbours’ gardens, there needs to be at least a short barrier around your garden. The barrier might be a fence, edging that’s two inches or taller, or the wooden border of a raised bed.

Entire coverage

Tertill has a simple, reliable strategy to ensure that it covers the garden. It uses a combination of bouncing away from, and sometimes following, obstacles and plants. This is the same strategy employed by some models of robotic vacuums.  You also need to plant your crops such that there is enough room for the 8.25 x 8.25 x 4.75 inches robot to drive around.

Why use a weeding robot

Zero herbicides: Using a robot to weed your garden ensures no use of potentially harmful herbicides are used. By patiently chopping weeds when they are small, Tertill keeps weeds well controlled using only mechanical means. The expense, the hassle, the danger to children and pets, and the worries associated with chemical herbicides are eliminated. Have you ever actually read what you’re supposed to do with herbicides? There’s a lot to it.

Diligence: While gardeners often forget to weed, weeds never forget to grow. While it is always in our best intention to give our gardens regular attention, sometimes life gets in the way and we end up with a garden choked with weeds. Not so for Tertill. Its only purpose is weeding, so it never forgets, never gets distracted, and never goes on vacation.

Productivity: All the fertiliser, all the water, and all the sunlight that reaches your garden should go to growing healthy, productive crops. But weeds use these resources, too, depriving crops of the light and food they need to thrive. By keeping the weeds from establishing themselves, Tertill makes sure that your crops get all the resources they should.

Gardening limitations: Gardening offers great benefit to the gardener. It gives us time outdoors surrounded by growing plants, it’s good exercise, it rewards us with delicious, fresh food, and it is a source of pride and accomplishment. But older folks or anyone with a mobility challenge may find that their physical limitations force them to cut back on gardening. That’s where Tertill comes in. Because weeding is often the most arduous gardening job, assigning that task to a robot can help the gardener keep doing what they love.

Robotic Awesomeness: People have been trying to get weeds out of their garden for a long time: they have tried plastic groundcloth, homemade herbicides, boiling water, and countless other approaches.  But all of these remedies lack a certain robotic awesomeness that Tertill brings to the situation.  

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