Scientists create Trimbot, a gardening robot

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Scientists have created Trimbot, a gardening robot that can prune roses and trim bushes, making light work of gardening chores.

The green-fingered robot uses mapping technology to find its way around the garden and performs horticultural tasks with its advanced cutting tools. Developers fitted five pairs of cameras and a flexible robotic arm to an automated lawnmower, made by electronics company Bosch.

They created algorithms that enable the robot to compare overgrown bushes with ideal final shapes as it trims, and it can prune roses by pinpointing the exact part of each plant’s stem that should be cut.

The team behind the Trimbot project, co-ordinated by University of Edinburgh researchers, said prototypes could be used to maintain communal green spaces, support farmers and help people with mobility issues tend their gardens.

Gardening robot
Trimbot in action (University of Edinburgh/PA)

Professor Bob Fisher, from the university’s School of Informatics, said: “Getting the robot to work reliably in a real garden was a major feat of engineering.

“The eight partner teams developed new robotics and 3D computer vision technology to enable it to work outdoors in changing lighting and environmental conditions.”

The four-year project was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme and involved scientists from Bosch and universities in the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland.

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Chris Price
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