From cash-crop farmers to planter-box gardeners, people who choose to grow their own food tend to be fairly committed to the do-it-yourself mentality. The Internet of Things offers plenty of opportunities for DIY-ers to automate food production — and while most home gardeners won’t have reason to build a self-driving tractor, any small-scale agricultural project could benefit from assembling a FarmBot.
The entire contraption is made out of weather-resistant aluminum, steel and 3D-printed plastic parts. It’s controlled by a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino Mega with a RAMPS shield, which was originally designed for the RepRap self-replicating 3D printer project.
Once the system is installed, FarmBot essentially takes care of itself. Instead of getting their hands dirty, gardeners use a web app to design the layout of their garden, choose which plants to grow, and set how they should be cared for. It’s a lot like a farm simulation game, minus the simulation — come harvest time, your “score” is measured in actual home-grown food.
Every bit of FarmBot’s hardware and software is open-source, and there’s a growing community dedicated to sharing ideas and iterating on the design. Aronson plans to run a crowdfunding campaign in 2016 that will put FarmBot kits on the market; if you plan to build a FarmBot for yourself in the meantime, expect to spend between $1,500 and $4,000 depending on the size of your installation.
Learn more in the video below, or at FarmBot’s Hackaday page.