Open-Source CNC Farming Machine Reimagines Food Production
Michael Alba posted on August 22, 2016 |
The FarmBot Genesis, shown in this rendering, is an open-source CNC farming machine that may revolutionize the agriculture industry. (Image courtesy of FarmBot).
The FarmBot Genesis, shown in this rendering, is an open-source CNC farming machine that aims to revolutionize the agriculture industry. (Image courtesy of FarmBot).
It’s open-source. It’s customizable. And it’s just as exciting to gardeners as is it is to garage tinkerers. Meet FarmBot, humanity’s first open-source Computer Numeric Control (CNC) farming machine.


What is FarmBot?

You can see FarmBot in action in the video below:

FarmBot is a CNC machine comprised of a gantry mounted to a set of tracks on either side of your garden. Attached to the gantry is a tool mount, which can be equipped with a variety of gardening tools such as a seed injector, watering nozzle, weed remover and more. 

FarmBot makes use of tracks and a gantry to access any point on the x-y plane. The universal tool mount can move in the z direction for a full complement of motion. (Image courtesy of FarmBot).
FarmBot makes use of tracks and a gantry to access any point on the x-y plane. The universal tool mount can move in the z direction for a full complement of motion. (Image courtesy of FarmBot).
Picture FarmBot as a 3D printer for your garden. With the capacity to move in the x, y, and z directions, the entire 3D volume of your garden can be precisely accessed. By using the assortment of different tools, FarmBot can manage every step of a plant’s lifecycle, all controlled through a web interface. 
With FarmBot, your garden can be completely controlled through a game-like web interface. (Image courtesy of FarmBot).
With FarmBot, your garden can be completely controlled through a game-like web interface. (Image courtesy of FarmBot).
By equipping sensors to FarmBot’s tool head, such as moisture meters, thermometers, and pH sensors, the machine can also generate gardening data that can be used to increase efficiency and grow better food.

 

FarmBot Genesis

Conceived in 2011 by mechanical engineering student Rory Landon Aronson, FarmBot has some pretty lofty goals. Far from just an electronic hobby, its aim is to modernize the agricultural industry and bring a better means of food production to everyone. And being fully open-source, FarmBot can benefit from global collaboration to quickly improve and remain affordable for average consumers.

Since 2011, Aronson has been hard at work developing his creation. Based on a whitepaper released in 2013, the first working prototype of the FarmBot project is called the FarmBot Genesis (shown in the above video). Designed for gardens ranging from 1 - 50m2 and built with commercially available and open source components including an Arduino Mega and Raspberry Pi, the Genesis aims to be fully customizable and perfect for backyards, rooftops, or greenhouses.

The FarmBot Genesis is currently available for pre-order for $3900 USD, and is expected to ship in February 2017.

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