FarmBot | Living the Country Life


A new robot can help you garden from the couch or across the world
Photo courtesy of Rory Aronson

Drag out the hoe, drop in the seeds, and hope it rains. A new robot plants and waters for you at the click of a mouse. It’s giving drag-and-drop gardening a whole new meaning.

Rory Aronson is the founder and CEO of FarmBot, a gardening machine that relies on a software platform for instructions. He says tracks are placed on a raised bed. A structure called the gantry moves on those tracks forward and backward, left and right, and then a tool head moves up and down.

"FarmBot can position itself anywhere in the raised bed in order to plant a seed, or water, or measure the soil," says Aronson. "It moves around and it’s all controlled from our web interface. So, the user can basically from their phone or laptop from anywhere in the world, manage their garden at home."

The FarmBot comes with several attachments – a seed injector, a watering nozzle, a weeding tool, and a soil sensor. Aronson says more add-on tools are coming, such as one that pick bugs off a plant.

Using these tools, the program allows you to give the machine specific instructions on what to do and when.

"For example, taking care of an onion plant for its entire life, and then you can reuse those functions. So you just say okay, plant another onion, plant another onion, plant another onion," says Aronson. "The FarmBot knows, alright, I’ll do the same thing that I’ve always done for the onions, but then do it in a smart way so it will use the soil sensor data, the weather data, to do some of these things a little bit smarter than simply just spraying the same amount of water every single time."

For now, the machine will only work for gardens about the size of a queen-size mattress. Aronson says he is working on larger devices that will cover four-times the area.

Learn more about FarmBot and see it in action.

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