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Cutting-edge robot makes short work of gardening

28 October 2019

A gardening robot has been developed that can self-navigate and automatically prune roses and trim bushes.

Trimbot robot trimming a bush (Credit: University of Edinburgh)

The green-fingered device – known as Trimbot – uses cameras and 3D mapping technology to find its way around gardens and perform precise tasks with cutting tools.

Prototype robots could be used to maintain communal green spaces, support farmers and help people with mobility issues tend their gardens, researchers say.

Modified device

Scientists created Trimbot using the latest robotics technologies and 3D computer vision techniques.

They fitted five pairs of cameras and a flexible robotic arm to an automated lawnmower made by electronics company Bosch.

The battery powered device is pre-programmed with a rough outline of a garden to aid navigation. Data captured by the robot’s 3D cameras enable it to perform specific tasks.

Engineering feat

Researchers created algorithms that enable the robot to compare overgrown bushes with ideal final shapes as it trims. Using a different cutting tool, Trimbot can prune roses by pinpointing the exact part of each plant’s stem that should be cut.

Technologies developed during the project could be incorporated into Bosch’s range of automated lawnmowers, the team says.

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