About Us

Trying to solve an age-old gardening problem

Roomba inventor Joe Jones and veteran Roboticist Rory MacKean founded Franklin Robotics in 2015. Both graduates of MIT, Joe and Rory understood the challenges of weeding a garden and were convinced a robot could help the gardener. For inspiration, Joe and Rory named the company after the great inventor, and founder of Poor Richard’s Almanac, Benjamin Franklin. With a lot of hard work, and help from two more talented roboticists, Jeff Vandegrift and John Chase, the team developed the first tool that could autonomously weed your garden with the touch of a button. And they named it Tertill.

A wildly successful Kickstarter/Indiegogo campaign launched Tertill in 2017 garnering almost 2000 pre-orders proving that Tertill met a clear customer need. Thanks to all our great early supporters, Tertill is now available for purchase, bringing joy to thousands of gardeners. 

Tertill’s new weeding modality has been validated by thousands of customers and studied by weed control experts around the country. Recently, Cornell School of Agriculture showed Tertill to be as effective as hand weeding in side by side testing. 

Inventing a better way to weed  

Much like the sticky note, Tertill’s effectiveness is part intention and part accident. When we tested Tertill, we thought the little weed whacker would do all of the weeding, and by keeping the weeds short, their roots would eventually shrivel up and die. What we did not expect was the pristine look of the Tertill garden; there were very few little weed sprouts.

It turns out that by using a robot to regularly transverse the surface of the garden, we had invented a brand-new modality of weeding. Tertill’s wheels mechanically inhibit the germination of some types of weeds. Those that do sprout are then chopped down using the whacker string. Tertill can be very efficient at eliminating even difficult to manage weeds using these two strategies. 

Product philosophy

The Franklin Robotics team believes in working hard to improve our robots through continuous research and listening to customer feedback. We are committed to offering consumers a new way to have a more beautiful and bountiful garden with just the touch of a button.

Gardeners who use Tertill can reduce the environmental impact, time commitment, and expense of competing weed-control methods including herbicides, hand weeding, mulch, and weed block. Software updates are released for free to existing customers, so everyone has the latest improvements.