1. Sustainability Problem
Food and agriculture: There is growing demand in cities for local produce, but small-scale gardening tends to be both labor-intensive and resource inefficient.
2. Technology Article Summary
The FarmBot Genesis Brings Precision Agriculture To Your Own Backyard
by Andrew Hayward
Published 6/27/2016 on modern farmer at http://modernfarmer.com/2016/06/farmbot-genesis/
- A three-person team from California has developed a data-enabled machine to sow and water seeds in small gardens.
- The FarmBot Genesis is pre-programmed to optimize spacing and watering for thirty three common plant varieties – but the open source coding means that it can be adapted by the user for specific applications.
- The bot can be controlled from a smartphone or computer, and users can customize plantings using in a simple interface that looks like a computer game.
- The current system can manage a plot up to 2.9 meters × 1.4 meters, with a maximum plant height of 0.5 meters – but there is potential to develop and customize the technology for a variety of applications.
3. Organizational Stakeholders
This technology is now available for pre-order, and the immediate stakeholders will be:
- Backyard farmers
- Urban agriculture organizations and cooperatives
Because the technology is open source and has potential for development, future stakeholders could include:
- Operators of commercial-scale greenhouse operations
- Plant researchers working in controlled environments
The next three stages in deploying this technology could be:
- Creators: disseminate the Genesis model
- Early adopters: identify value-add applications
- Creators: scale up manufacturing to bring cost below $1000/unit