Robot stalk-er: a 3D-printed bot designed to pull weeds

There are lots of ways farmers deal with weeds, none modern, elegant, and simple. Chemicals are clearly problematic, while manually pulling out the plants is time-consuming and exhaustive; isn’t it about time someone automated the darn problem? For the Pitch Your Prototype contest from Make Magazine and Cornell University, Mike Rigsby has attempted to do just that.

“This is a serious attempt to address an agricultural problem,” Rigsby told the magazine. “I suspected that robots could handle the weeds and that the time to start working on such a solution is now, before the weeds develop further resistance to chemicals.”

Cobbled together from 3D-printed parts, three Arduino Unos, a camera, and an ultrasonic sensor, the device is currently built only to roll over carpet. “Nellie’s daughters and sons will need a heavy duty chassis that will run between rows of plants, reaching to the side to eliminate offensive,” Rigsby writes of his creation. Right now, it’s just simulating the motion of pulling out a weed proxy by its stalks.

Should he win the contest’s $5,000 prize, Rigsby plans to put the money toward building another prototype with a little more oomph; that way, he can see how well it might handle a farm’s terrain. Sorry, gardeners: Right now, Rigsby is looking to help farmers tackle troublesome weeds with growing herbicide resistance, such as Amaranthus palmeri, rather than backyard vegetable and flower patches. But if he’s successful, maybe a baby version could one day tackle the weeds threatening to overtake your azaleas.

Smart Home

Amazon knocks down the price on the second-generation Echo smart speaker

Amazon just knocked down the price of the second-generation Echo smart speaker with Alexa by 25 percent. The Echo can answer questions, control smart home devices, fill a room with music with its Dolby speakers, and make hands-free calls.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

These are the best movies on Hulu right now (March 2019)

From dramas to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (March 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Smart Home

Smeg Dolce and Gabbana small appliances make an art gallery of your kitchen

Spice up your kitchen with Smeg's Dolce and Gabbana-styled Sicily Is My Love collection. Following its introduction of Sicilian-themed major appliances, the Italian collaborators added countertop devices with traditional icons and images.
Smart Home

Whatever happened to those dumb smart products we wrote about in 2017?

A smart salt dispenser? As manufacturers rush to get the next new smart item out there, we wonder if all these new inventions are really necessary. Here’s a list of 10 of the quirkiest home smart gadgets available, and where they are now.
Smart Home

Sign up for Amazon’s Prime Book Box and get an Echo Dot Kids Edition for $1

Do your kids like books? Sign up for Amazon's Prime Book Box for kids through March 26 and you can get an Echo Dot Kids Edition for just $0.99. The Prime Book Box includes two to four books, delivered every one, two, or three months.
Smart Home

Ikea isn’t throwing shade with the delayed release of its smart blinds

Ikea planned to release is Tradfri-compatible smart blinds in April 2019, but the products have been delayed until later in the year for a firmware update that promises better functionality.
Smart Home

Lutron’s Fan Control makes ceiling fans smart, but has some turnoffs

Lutron recently came out with a smart switch that controls ceiling fans, the Lutron Caseta Fan Speed Control Switch. How does it stack up? Here's a first-hand review of the Lutron Fan Control switch.
Cars

Amazon and Kia team up to simplify EV home-charging station installs

Kia Motors announced a new program with Amazon for electric vehicles. Customers planning to purchase a new Kia EV or PHEV can check out recommended Level 2 240-volt home charging stations and arrange installation in their homes.
Smart Home

Traeger’s latest wood-pellet grills are smoky, smart, and spacious

Traeger is famous in the world of barbecue and heavy-duty grills for its signature pellet grills and now the company is expanding this year by adding three new brands of redesigned
Smart Home

The five best teeth-whitening kits you can buy on Amazon

Teeth whitening can have a major impact on a person’s smile and overall appearance. You don't necessarily have to go to the dentist to get your teeth whitened though. Here are the best teeth-whitening kits you can buy.
Smart Home

Is your Keurig making gross coffee? Might be time for a cleaning

No one likes a dirty, scaled, or smelly Keurig, but how are you supposed to clean them? Before you throw yours out the window, here is a quick guide on cleaning your machine out thoroughly.