Roomba creator Joe Jones, is at it again. This time he is combining solar power and robotics to weed your garden with a new Kickstarter project called Tertill. Franklin Robotics’ one-month fundraising campaign raised over $312,000, approximately 250 percent above its $120,000 pledge goal. Costing $250 per unit, the company plans to sell and ship Tertills internationally in early 2018.
The Tertill is a 100 percent solar-powered, garden-weeding robot that has the capability to patrol and weed gardens up to 100 square feet. The disc-shaped unit, weighing 2.5 pounds, has the ability to charge its lithium-ion battery with a solar panel during peak sunlight hours or during cloudy days. The unit will weed slowly and less frequently on overcast days in order to conserve energy while recharging its battery.
“The solution that Tertill would eventually provide is to make gardening easier and more productive for the entire spectrum of home gardeners-novice, experienced, procrastinator, bad back, lazy, or vacationing,” said Jones, inventor and chief technology officer of Franklin Robotics.
The Tertill can be activated via Bluetooth or set to operate automatically. Its sensor system identifies obstacles and allows it to cut down weeds that are short enough to pass under the unit, while leaving taller vegetables, fruit plants and flowers alone. The unit cuts down weeds with a spinning string trimmer, similar to a traditional weed whacker, but closer to the ground before weeds’ leaves have a chance to grow.
“I knew that the design of a robot that would work with you to control your garden would have to accommodate every style and level of involvement gardeners had with their garden. Tertill could patrol while you were away, clean up what you missed, or, in most cases, handle 100 percent of the weeding,” said Jones.
Jones and Franklin Robotics is not the first company to use online funding sites, like Kickstarter and indiegogo, to create a buzz and raise capital for a new solar-powered product. Others, like mPower, have launched successful campaigns to bring their products to the marketplace. mPower used the platform to raise funds to develop its all-in-one portable solar generator. The lightweight generator unit incorporates solar panels, a battery system, inverter, two USB ports and two 120 volt outlets into one mobile, off-grid power station.Tweet