FarmBot: Open-Source Automated Precision Farming Machine

#Food

Sun, Sep 29th, 2013 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

The FarmBots are open-sourced, fully scalable and completely autmated farming machine. Its creators compare them to giant 3D printers that, "instead of wielding plastic extruders, its tools are seed injectors, watering nozzles, plows, sensors, and more!"

The world’s population is growing and with that growth we must produce more food. Due to the industrial and petrochemical revolutions, the agriculture industry has kept up in food production, but only by compromising the soil, the environment, our health, and the food production system itself. The increased production has largely come from incremental changes in technology and economies of scale, but that trend is reaching a plateau. Conventional agriculture methods are unsustainable and a paradigm shift is needed.

FarmBot is an open-source and scalable automated precision farming machine and software package designed from the ground up with today’s technologies. Similar to today’s 3D printers and CNC milling machines, FarmBot hardware employs linear guides in the X, Y, and Z directions that allow for tooling such as plows, seed injectors, watering nozzles, and sensors, to be precisely positioned and used on the plants and soil. The entire system is numerically controlled and thus fully automated from the sowing of seeds to harvest. The hardware is designed to be simple, scalable, and hackable. Using the open-source web-based software package, the user can graphically design their farm to their desired specifications and upload numerical control code to the hardware. Other features of the software include storing and manipulating data maps, a decision support system to facilitate data driven farm design, access to an open data repository, and enterprise class analytics.

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