Thursday, August 21, 2014

Another Day, Another 3D Printing, Robotic Harvesting, Internet-of-Things FarmBot

From MotherBoard:

FarmBot Will 3D Print Your Crops and Email You When It Harvests Them
Image: FarmBot
California's Silicon Valley gets all the ink, but given that California also produces way more agriculture than any other state, maybe the Salinas Valley deserves a nod every now and then. But then, maybe the distinction between the two won't last for very much longer—at least, that's what this “automated precision farming machine” has me believing. Meet the most Californian thing imaginable in the post-Governator era: the FarmBot.

Genetically engineered from 3D printers, open source tech, and world-saving rhetoric, FarmBot is the product of Rory Aronson, a mechanical engineer taking an organic agriculture class in college. FarmBot is the solution to the dilemma causing people to choose between huge industrialized farms, which produce large yields with less labor, and backyard gardening, which is more labor intensive but more biologically efficient than monoculture farming.

In his TedX talk, Aronson differentiates himself from Wendell Berry, back-to-the-fields types by pointing out that “people don't want to do manual labor.”...MORE
It's All Coming Together: The $210,000 Cow Miking Robot (can the dream of plowborgs be far behind?)
"Sea Robots Farm Algae for Fuel"
Answering the Question: "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"
"Agriculture VCs Seek $200M Fund II"
Possibly some tangential relationship:
Venture Capital Down on the Farm
Venture Capital: "Selling Agriculture 2.0 to Silicon Valley"
Silicon Valley to Focus on Ag in Central Valley and Beyond "Yup, I used to raise corn for ethanol. But then the topsoil blew away and I couldn't even get enough juice to run my tractor or get drunk on Saturday. Then this stranger came to town. Ordered something called a 'la-tay' and called himself a 'vee-cee.' Said he'd give me $20 million to come to Californee and herd algae. So we packed up our furniture in his little toy car and came west. Now I've got a regular bonanza of the slimy critters and the kids got shoes. Hain't looked over my shoulder back east since."
-from our post "Algaen Gothic"