FarmBot

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= "FarmBot is humanity's open-source automated farming machine. Our vision is to grow food for everyone and allow everyone to grow food".

URL = http://go.FarmBot.it/


Description

Mission: Produce free and open-source hardware plans, software, data, and documentation such that anyone can build and operate a farming machine.

"Since time immemorial, farmers have benefited from sharing knowledge with one another, and The FarmBot makes that easier than ever to do. Designed by California engineer Rory Landon Aronson, this open-source farming machine allows hackers and agriculturalists to brainstorm. Similar to CNC milling machines and 3D printers, the FarmBot works on a scalable frame that employs X, Y and Z directions, and can be outfitted with anything from sensors and spray nozzles to plows and seed injectors. ... Aronson created the FarmBot to harness economies of scale and modern technologies. The machine comes equipped with a web-based software package that be easily modified. Users simply design their farm (graphically) and upload their numerical specifications to the hardware.

“Rather than making incremental changes to existing equipment, FarmBot takes a new approach at precision agriculture, tearing down everything from the past and starting from the ground up,” says Aronson. “By simply placing the tooling equipment on a a set of tracks, rather than a free-driving tractor,” he added, “the system has the ability to be extremely precise and reposition tooling in exact locations repeatedly over time." (http://inhabitat.com/the-farmbot-is-an-open-source-hackable-farming-machine-designed-to-bring-technology-to-agriculture/)

Interview

Open Electronics interview of Rory Aronson, the creator of the project:


[Open Electronics] Hey Rory, could you tell more about you and the story before FarmBot? How did you actually arrive to design this project?

[Rory Aronson] I have always been interested in many fields, from transportation, to food production, to sustainable energies, to mobile technologies. So in 2010, while studying Mechanical Engineering at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, I decided to take an organic agriculture class to fuel my interest in the food system. A guest speaker shared with our class about his new tractor, one that could selectively till the ground, destroying all of the weeds but not harming his lettuce plants. Upon seeing that idea, a spark went off in my head for a system that was better, and that was the humble beginnings of FarmBot.

Over my remaining two years in school, the project just sort of sat in the back of my head, waiting for me to find the time to put a good foot forward. I sketched every now and then, built a basic prototype for show purposes, and completed some research, but nothing too extraordinary.

Now, I am graduated and have found the time and motivation to move forward with the project. Things are beginning to move quickly, and it is exciting!


[Open Electronics] Currently, is it only you behind this project or is there a team behind it? How did you fund working on design and prototyping?

[Rory Aronson] For a long time it was only me working on the project. I had attempted to get other students interested, but they were mostly turned away by the sheer scale of the project, the uncertainty, and the time commitment. It wasn’t until just a month ago after publishing the FarmBot white paper that others started to jump onboard the team. Now there are about four people on the team, but we are always looking for more, especially programmers.


[Open Electronics] How would you describe FarmBot in a tweet (or in general in few words, for the average non-expert person)?

[Rory Aronson] FarmBot is an open-source automated farming machine. Picture it as a giant 3D printer outfitted with a seed injector, sprayer, plow, and sensors."


[Open Electronics] What use case and scenarios do you envision for this tool? Is designed to be used in small resilient communities searching to secure food supply or rather in large scale, intensive agricultural scenarios, like those related to food corporations? Is some of these players already showing interest towards the project?

[Rory Aronson] The best use cases for FarmBot have yet to be determined, but my hunch is that it can be used on all scales. I am building the first prototype on top of a 1.5x3m raised bed in my backyard, and I will optimize the hardware to be affordable on a scale this small. From here, I hope that the same design will scale to a backyard, a greenhouse, an urban rooftop, and even a small commercial farm! A large commercial farm or an industrial setting will likely need a different design, but I think the same design intentions will still apply.

Personally, I am not very interested in working on the project on a massive scale, but everything is open-source, so if someone else wants to apply it there, they can go right ahead.


[Open Electronics] What’s the status of the project right now? In particular, are some actual agricultural testbeds already in place? Is the machine already available as one or more prototypes?

[Rory Aronson] I am currently building the first prototype on a 1.5x3m raised bed in my backyard. The hardware is nearing completion, but then software will take quite some time to develop." (http://www.open-electronics.org/farmbot-founder-rory-aronson-explains-precision-agriculture/)

More Information

  1. Precision Agriculture
  2. Products FarmBot Genesis
  3. Contact Info Email [email protected]
  4. White Paper