Innovation of the week
The inventor of the Roomba wants to help clean up your garden, said Elizabeth Woyke in TechnologyReview.com. Joe Jones, the roboticist who developed the popular vacuum-cleaning gadget, is “continuing to alleviate housework drudgery” with Tertill, a roving robo-gardener that weeds flower and vegetable gardens. Tertill, built by Jones’ startup, Franklin Robotics, is a waterproof robot that uses four-wheel drive to navigate the outdoors unsupervised. Sensors help the robot avoid obstacles and know when to activate its weed blades. When the Tertill encounters vegetation shorter than its 1-inchhigh bumper, it assumes it is a weed and cuts it. Jones, who plans to build an entire line of agricultural robots, hopes future versions “will appeal to organic farmers who want to weed their crops without using herbicide.” Tertill is scheduled to launch in summer 2017 for $250.