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FarmBot is the bomb. Get ready for the coolest piece of technology I’ve seen in some time.

It’s not usual that I post product information on my blog, but this product is so innovative, I wanted to share. The desire of my heart is to move toward a future where technology and nature work together in harmony. Environmentally conscious technology is a step toward a brave new world. We can build a future that bridges the gap between “indoors” and “outdoors”.

The Industrial Revolution was good for productivity, mass production, and the advancement of technology. Yet the Industrial Revolution was not good for our relationship with nature or for our health. Research has shown that people are healthier when they spend time outdoors. It has shown that eating minimally-processed food is better for us. Deprived of nature, health, and even sleep, we face a mental health crisis. We’re living longer, but are we happy while we live?

Going backward is not the right solution. Many have suggested that we need to go back to a “simpler” and “better” time. “The good old days” is a common longing. But every time is wrought with its own troubles. Some praise the medieval era for its chivalry, but it faced pestilence, plague, and war. Some praise the 40’s as a time when school children had few cares in the world. Yes, today’s students deal with bullying, suicide, self-harm, relationship woes, and school shootings. But we forget that only a small percentage of children in the 40’s actually got to go to school. Low income or disabled kids couldn’t attend. Backward-thinking racism and segregation were still rampant.

Technology, the Industrial Revolution, and our past mean that our time faces unique trials. But we have made valuable progress: equality and some of the lowest violence rates in history.

The solution is not to move backward or to cower with the belief that we march into the horrible “last days”. It is to move forward into a bright new world. By being responsible stewards of our world, we can reverse negative technology trends.

 

What is FarmBot?

Enter FarmBot: an open-source, CNC farming machine. Open source means that everything about FarmBot is available to distribute by anyone. The design, plans, and software all all free.  If you have a 3D printer, or access to one, you can download the files and build your own FarmBot at home. (I contacted FarmBot for an approximate cost to build. I will add an update to this page as soon as I have it.) If building it yourself sounds overwhelming, you can pre-order a pre-built model for $4,000.

FarmBot-Genesis-658x370Software

The FarmBot software interacts with a Raspberry Pi computer within the robot. It connects to a cloud platform, accessible from any device. Design your garden by dragging and dropping vegetables. It’s easy to use and intelligent. FarmBot’s software will interact with the robot to allow it to grow your garden the way you choose.

Capabilities

FarmBot is able to water plants by using coordinates saved in the software. This means less wasted water. Each plant receives an amount of water appropriate to its type. What shocked me the most about this genius robot is two of its other abilities: planting, and weeding. Are you kidding me? FarmBot is able to use a 3D printed seeder to plant its seeds at appropriate distances apart. It is able to weed the garden by identifying weeds with its onboard camera and pushing them down into the dirt.

I hope you find FarmBot as exciting as I do. It’s a fresh perspective on the dialogue between machine and plant. I want to buy one, or build one, soon.

 

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