farmbot brings robotic farming to your backyard garden
Water your garden
While many find gardening with their own hands a relaxing activity, a company called FarmBot is now selling robots designed to weed, water and plant fresh produce for you.
CBC Radio technology columnist Dan Misener surveyed the attractiveness of robotic gardeners.
How does the farm robot work?
The first version of the farm robot
Called Farm robot Genesis
Designed to work in raised garden beds or garden boxes.
The robot itself uses the track on the side of the box to move around and it works on three dimensions.
So it can go left.
Forward and backward; and up anddown.
If you \'ve ever seen a 3D printer, it moves in a similar way.
This robot has been working for several years.
But you can buy it now.
The California company behind the robot has begun to accept the pre-
Cdn orders of about $4,000.
Last month, FarmBot has raised about $1 million to start manufacturing kits.
Who is the FarmBot?
FarmBot seems to be designed for those who want to grow their own products, but are not interested in the actual work of gardening.
If you go through the FarmBot forum, you will find a lot of amateurs, tinkerersand educators --
People with technical tendencies
Part of the idea behind the FarmBot is that it is designed to work in a relatively small garden. If you pre-
Order a kit and you will get a standard track three metres long.
The robot was designed to work on about 1 raised bed.
5 by 3 metres. Sosmall spaces—
Backyard Farm, roof farm or small greenhouse.
One of the most interesting aspects of this project is that it applies the same type of automation we see in large projects
Agriculture of scale, but much smaller.
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Driving seederFarmBot is open source.
What does this mean?
This means that the source code of all software and the blueprints of all parts are public and available for free --
So you can modify or adjust it.
Rory Aronson in a promotional video
Founder of farm robots
Explain the custom types you can do.
\"You can do this if you want to use pesticides.
You don\'t have to do it if you don\'t.
If you want to water your plants in some way
\"Maybe with the nozzle sir, not the shower nozzle, you can do that,\" he said . \".
\"You can measure the pH, measure the temperature, and measure anything you want to do so that you have complete control and agency on how you grow your food.
\"How do farm workers grow different plants?
It\'s connected to an early project called OpenFarm, an open project
Database of source crops.
In addition to the knowledge of agriculture and gardening, you can imagine it as Wikipedia.
For each crop, there is detailed information about how much sunlight and water it needs, what type of soil is best, row spacing, and so on.
Because this database is designed to be readable by both humans and machines, farm robots can download crop information and use it to take care of the garden --
Give the right amount of water to each plant, test the pH of the soil, things like that.
The FarmBot is controlled by a web application that you can use to control the robot manually.
Or you can set it up on the schedule.
I don\'t have farm bots at home, but I have played this app.
It\'s kind of like if you remember the online game \"FarmVille.
You spread your crops, water your plants, and weed the garden.
You do it with real plants.
What do I need if I want my own garden robot?
As mentioned earlier, FarmBot pre-
The order has already started so you can buy your own kit.
This gives you access to most of the hardware you need to assemble farm robots, but you still have to provide raised garden beds, power supplies and Internet connections.
You have to put everything together.
But if you have more technical knowledge
The entire FarmBot project is open source.
So if you want to do moreit-
You can download all the CAD models and make files to build your own models.
If you have access to the CNC router (
Computer CNC router-
Computer cutting machine-controlled)
Routers and 3D printers, you can print out many of the components you need to build a farm robot.
The rest, such as computer components, are readily available and relatively low. cost.
If you use DIY, there are complete instructions online.
I know a lot of educators have built their own 3D printersand laser cutting machine as a class project.
If the farm robot takes off, I can see that it becomes another great way to teach kids not only electronics and coding, but also farming.