The future of farming is looking brighter. Historically, only big companies could automate their farms, at the expense of using expensive machinery worth millions. But now, with Farmbot, because of innovation and a close-knit community, the future of farming is getting brighter and closer to your own backyard.
What is Farmbot?
Farmbot is an automated agricultural machine that can be easily used by anyone to create and edit their own ‘smart’ garden with an app. It uses hardware that can move with millimeter precision to plant and water seeds, measure the moisture content of the soil, and uses its camera to detect and destroy weeds.
Farmbot can be used for research, commercial and personal use. With measurements of 1.5m X 3m, it can easily be used indoors, outdoors or on a rooftop. Another option is to place the unit completely Off-Grid with a small solar panel and a rain collection system.
Although the model is on the expensive side – Farmbot Genesis costs £1773 – it has been calculated that the return on your investments is between three to five years. This indicates that the Genesis model can produce all of the vegetables needed for one person every day all year round. Meanwhile, a Genesis XL at £2629 can produce enough vegetables all year round for a family of four every day.
People can easily use their own Farmbot through their computer, tablet or phone, because of the web application. This app makes designing your farm look like an easy and fun game. It is also Open-Source, which makes it possible for the more advanced ‘hackers’ to ‘hack’ the system and adapt it to their own needs.
Besides sharing code, Farmbot also shares their hardware designs and how people can create the needed parts themselves. For example, they share on their website which parts can easily be recreated with a 3D printer and how other parts can be created using a laser cutter.
The online community makes it easy to find step-by-step instruction for every single assembly process. This close-knit community has been involved from the beginning with designing and testing the technology.
The first batch of Farmbots will start delivering from February 2017. With a first crowdfunding round of more than one million dollars (and growing), it has the means to keep developing its service and become bigger. We, at RNR Solutions, are excited to see how a Farmbot in the backyard can evolve the agriculture industry of the future.