Mississippi Patent of the Month – August 2022
We often think of weeds as certain plants – dandelions, crabgrass, or even thistles. But a weed is really any plant that is in the wrong location. These uncontrolled weeds are often detrimental to the desired plants, using the nutrients and water and choking out the desired plants. It’s these detrimental effects that have driven the need for pesticides and weed control solutions. Unfortunately, a lot of the chemicals perpetuate other problems, including detrimental effects to the soil or other plants. WeedWoasters, LLC has taken on a different approach – the sun.
Soil solarization is an organic method used to kill weeds. Traditionally, a transparent tarp covers the ground, trapping the solar energy near the soil to kill weeds before they even sprout. Unfortunately, this method is not targetable and kills anything directly below the tarp. WeedWoaster’s solution intends to provide precision and control over which plants will be targeted, allowing for weed control without collateral damage.
WeedWoaster’s patented solution involves a wearable device that helps the gardener concentrate and direct solar energy onto the target weeds. The apparatus includes a backpack-like system that supports a canopy. The backpack also connects to a hose – or a light guide – used to expel light directly onto the targeted weed. The canopy acts as an overhead solar energy collection unit, gathering and concentrating solar energy into light guides. This collection and concentration is achieved using Fresnel lenses in the canopy portion. A series of shutters and mirrors are then used to direct and control the intensity of the solar energy before being directed out through the light guide. Their patent includes room to replace the entire backpack set up with highly autonomous robotic vehicles to effectively automate the entire process.
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