Protecting your garden from unwanted plants and excess weeds is half of the gardening process. One maker and developer, aka Nathan from NathanBuildsDIY, has taken the matter to an entirely new level by developing this impressive Raspberry Pi-powered solution. After deliberating potential avenues, he settled on creating an AI-driven robot that identifies weeds before using a Fresnel lens to concentrate light from the sun onto the weeds until they burn.
The system consists of a large wooden frame that can be wheeled up and down paths in your garden. It has a camera for observing the territory that the Pi evaluates for potential weeds. Once an unwanted plant is spotted, its Fresnel lens is moved into position while the machine waits until the weed is sufficiently burned.
Nathan was kind enough to not only demonstrate the project but also share a video completely breaking down the build process making it easy for anyone to recreate themselves. He includes everything from the physical schematics to wiring diagrams as well as delving deep into the code used to operate the system.
A full parts list is available in the video description but here’s a brief summary of the most major components. It uses a Raspberry Pi 3B+ but you could easily swap this with a Raspberry Pi 4 or even a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W. A Fresnel lens is necessary to focus the sunlight to burn the plants, this is put into position with a series of wheels and motors. Everything is powered by a LiPo battery and held into place with a custom wooden frame.
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A fair bit of software is required to program the unit. You can expect some familiar applications if you’ve tinkered with AI on the Pi before. You’ll need OpenCV as well as Tflite (Tensorflow Lite) to run Tensorflow on the Pi. Other basic libraries are used as well, with Picamera being used to control and take images with the official Raspberry Pi camera..
If you want to get a closer look at this Raspberry Pi project, we highly recommend checking out the video so you can see it in action. Visit Nathan’s official YouTube channel, NathanBuildsDIY, for an in-depth look at this impressive gardening tool and be sure to follow him for more cool creations.