FarmBot Wiki

Document, share, and discover FarmBot technology

User Tools

Site Tools


Here's a page for specific/abstract ideas for the farmbot. Whatever comes to your mind on how to improve farmbot, you can post here if you want or start a new page of your own.

Integrate the farmbot concept with aquaponics, and more specifically, vertical aquaponics. It'll take care of watering/most fertilizing concerns and in general seems more appropriate with precision ag technology than soil farming. Nate Storey's ZipGrow towers seem like a great way to have a consistent/easier to design around the mechanism for farming. Also, to go with aquaponics, Ebisu Automationis planning on making automated ammonia, pH, temperature and nitrate tests to help out with automating aquaponics. Perhaps this would work well with farmbot in an aquaponic setting to tend to plants based on those parameters. One idea for a “tool” for the Genesis farmbot might be to use (bear with me) lasers to precision kill unwanted bugs. Using a combination between this mosquito-killing laser technology and this cheap 3D printer that uses accurate lasers to shine light in specific places using electromagnets to move. It may be a stretch, but nonetheless an interesting idea. I don't think this idea is too far fetched! Several other people have in fact suggested the use of lasers for several things, including killing bugs, zapping weeds, and even pruning/harvesting! I don't think a laser tool would be appropriate for small FarmBots, but as the system scales, a laser may be economically viable. - Rory For small Farmbots you can use more holistic approach, such as a vinegar spray system, vinegar is a good alternative to weed killer- Shawn Another 'sensor' (See further below) idea (which I'm fairly sure has already been thought of) is a camera mounted on the farmbot. This will allow the above laser thingy to work, as well as differentiate between weeds and good plants and diagnose deficiencies in plants. Using cameras and computer vision analysis will be a major feature for FarmBot. The software/electronics development team just decided to integrate a Raspberry Pi into the electronics stack, which will right away allow for lower cost addition of a camera and the Pi will have enough computing power to crunch the data and perform more complex actions such as selective weeding, pruning, harvesting, etc.! - Rory The use of cameras would also be useful with automated growing and online technologies. If you have a plant growing in the country (X) and need advice over a plant health problem, then the cameras allow an expert from the Country (Y or Z) to offer advice from a visual perspective.

The Use of sensors is important and the low cost of Raspberry Pi's would allow the generation of system additions, sort of like Lego, you can add to the system and with Linux its all still Open-Source. GardenBot Soil SensorSmart irrigation These sensor systems are what one was thinking along thinking along the same way with modular sensors being available to plug in. Use of the raspberry Pi also allows for wireless applications and monitoring.

Although the idea of a rigid-framed area/machine to be precise in farming is a good idea, the ideas for using precision ag technologies on tractors and other things may be good too. For example, one idea I've had is to combine something like agrokruh with convention center-pivots in large-scale agriculture. The concept would be that one could use the same tools as on the Genesis Farmbot and simply put them on regular old center pivot waterers. Yes, this will definitely be possible! The same tooling and software should work on both Cartesian (XY) and polar (angle, distance) coordinate systems. Check out this proposed FarmBot: Orbicular FarmBOT. - Rory

In regards to software, maybe we should try to partner with Yara. They are already a precision ag business and already have a skeleton for the type of plant information and website that's needed for farmbot.

Would be interesting to see this incorporated into a rail tracked based system so that like a train it can be moved around not just on one level, but moved up to several along the rail-track with this controlling issues along a 3/4/+stack of growing tanks with the units moving along them up to the next level, etc…

Indoors Farming

So the thinking here is that building indoor based bio-mechanical farming could be constructed. We see space at a premium, but looking at how a warehouses stores goods (, gave one the idea that growing could be done the same way. So a 5'x30' Growing 'rack' could be stacked up to allow five growing areas of 5'x30' in an old Storage building as these are often cheaper to rent and easily available. For the towers and lighting – external image & external image growing lights are useful and would allow for future building in places where natural lights are not available. Multi-levels if you use the tower system,been thinking here having the levels either with one system being able to traverse up/down/left/right or just one per level which makes more sense. The Lego analogy is apt as everyone knows about it. Though modular sensors would benefit from USB connectivity. This would also allow the system to use direct software interaction with like drivers it accesses software, it needs but is easy for people to use even if not computer literate. Growing lights external image

Such a system would also allow fertilizers and pesticides to be held in fluid storage containers at the end of the rack, and automated level alerts allow low maintenance as such a system could alert when top ups are needed, with water being provided by the mains or better still rain-water harvesting (, excess water filtering from the system. With Ultraviolet disinfection of water consists of a purely physical, chemical-free process. UV-C radiation attacks the vital DNA of the bacteria directly. However, UV-oxidation processes can be used to simultaneously destroy trace chemical contaminants and provide high-level disinfection, Ultraviolet sterilizers are often used in aquaria and ponds to help control unwanted micro-organisms in the water.

Aquarium and pond sterilizers are typically small, with fittings for tubing that allows the water to flow through the sterilizer on its way from a separate external filter or water pump. Within the sterilizer, water flows as close as possible to the ultraviolet light source.Continuous sterilization of the water neutralizes single-cell algae and thereby increases water clarity. UV irradiation also ensures that exposed pathogens cannot reproduce, thus decreasing the likelihood of a disease outbreak in an aquarium.

A system like this with small scale UV filtering and water recycling would work well with varient systems like the open source sprinkler system Opensource Sprinkler this way it could be set up as a modular system, think lego. The use of cameras would also be useful with automated growing and online technologies. If you have a plant growing in the country (X) and need advice over a plant health problem, then the cameras allow an expert from the Country (Y or Z) to offer advice from a visual perspective with digital information being available like below The Use of sensors is important and the low cost of Raspberry Pi's would allow the generation of system additions, sort of like Lego, you can add to the system and with Linux its all still Open-Source. GardenBot, Soil Sensors, Smart irrigation, Open sprinkler. These sensor systems are what one was thinking along thinking along the same way with modular sensors being able to be added or rmoved depending on need. Such automated scale systems could have a lot of their systems run by Solar, or wind, Looking on Ebay, used pond equipment, it's small and efficient for this, an can be retweeked + pond enthsiast websites have a lot of people who take an interest in this and could be tapped.. As for the lighting, you have to use a little creativity from the Cannabis growers collective as a source of information and skill as they are transferable.


List of useful and interesting URLS Lighting :- external image +++ external image…/msg0318383023578.html?54 external image external image…/ights-do-they-actually-work Grow light external image…/5080,default,pg.html

Growing Racks :- external image…/growingrack#.UwyWXZjkv9U external image…/s-tiered-growing-stand.aspx external image…/-not-too-late-in-the-spring

Growing Medium :- external image

Vertical farming:-

Other ref ;- external image…/he-indoor-farming-society-2 external image…/strong>+*+ external image external image external image…/232521831.html GardenBot - Open Source garden brains..

Flavia at a glance a Leaf Recognition Algorithm for Plant Classification using PNN (Probabilistic Neural Network)

Want to identify plants with your smartphone?

Facial Recognition

Open source plant recognition systems:

OPS Numberplate recognition.

Open Source Energy Monitor - possibly use-full with the wireless sensor system.. and software already developed.


Rex -Arm powered robot controller board. Ref: Site:

Building a distributed robot garden

Aardunio - Excel data logging entiry software, Open Source

Agriculture Open-Source Software: Daisy - , Project page:

Pharm2Phork Project page:

Hydro Meter

OS crop planning software

Cute Farm Project homepage:

AquaCrop Project Homepage:

AgroSense Project homepage:

For the UV water issue something like this C432-1.jpg (This could be remade using basic plumbing white tubular plastic pipework and a waterproof light) would work between and integrate well with the open sprinkler system. Connected up to something like one of these PATIBC_01_web.jpg (IBC Container 1000 Litre Capacity Water Tank Water Storage Plastic Agriculture. About $66) Warehouse-Storage-Rack.jpg This style of racking is common and well made and often seen about. It would allow the water storage unit to be help on at an end to facilitate observational water levels and also fixed liquid fertilizer applications. What you are planning would not really scale up to outdoor landscape, farming but would be perfect for vertical farms, hence one suggestion of the racking, which would be suitable for the bot and water stystems, as well as lighting.

Thoughts on Lighting.

Fluorescent lights Fluorescent lights give off a cool, bluish light which is particularly suitable for seedlings and cuttings. They give a wide spread of light, and don't generate much heat, so ideal for the early stages of plant growth. Some, known as CFL, or compact fluorescent. In these the ballast, which contains the lighting controls, is built into the bulb rather than the fittings. Both of these, fluorescent lights provide enough light to get young plants growing, yet are less suitable for larger plants as they simply don't have a high enough output.

Halide lights Halide lights are more powerful than fluorescent. They're used for bigger plants, during the vegetative growth stage. However Halide lights are less suitable for the flowering/fruiting stage of edible and ornamental crops – for this you should use a sodium light.

Sodium lights Sodium lights, very popular, they give a strong, even light, and are very efficient in the use of electricity. They give off a warm, orange-colored light which is very good for plant growth.

Sensors Soil and water sensors as well as environmental ones, have given this some thought and have been wondering if something along the lines of, ZigBee, this being a specification for a suite of high level communication protocols to create personal area networks built from small, low-power digital radios. ZigBee is based on an IEEE 802.15 standard. Though low-powered, ZigBee devices can transmit data over long distances by passing data through intermediate devices to reach more distant ones, creating a mesh network; this could be solar/battery powered and run with an old router and raspberry PI but could cover the sensor net for the whole site. Though things have moved on alot and you can get Xbee wireless modules with the microcontroller on board, so you just have to connect your sensors, write a bit of code and it's good to go with minimal additional circuitry or hassle. external image all the work has been done here.

Incorporating Animal Husbandry into the FarmBot system.

I would like to see small wheeled and tracked “robot tractors” included in the design possibilities. Both gantry and mobile systems could use the same excellent “big data” concept for crop management. The fixed gantry style robot has the best chance of success in greenhouse applications. Field applications of up to a few acres may be better served by mobile robots. See for the size of robot and general mechanical configuration I would be interested in contributing to. Another example of this size of field robot that I like are called “slope mowers”. Some good ideas for the mechanical designers in the group. Tow behind farm implements could be scaled down from traditional designs. -RW

The OpenSprinkler project has been given a very nice (extensible for fertigation?) jQuery Mobile web interface that can be locally hosted on a RaspberryPi. -RW

What is the competition to FarmBot up to? In most industries this would be a big buck report to get access to. Thanks to the Canadian government, it is free. -RW

Once a camera has taken a picture of the plant and identified any nutrient deficiency (along with soil sensors??), there will need to be a way to mix up the fertilizer cocktail for each plant. Sounds like a job for the “veggie barista”. -RW The Bartendro project is also based in San Luis Obispo and I have been to one of their parties! They have a great product. When the time comes, I'll be reaching out to them for their paristaltic pump design and help with integration into FarmBot! - roryaronson

The Matrix for cows. Still, I am gobsmacked with the entire line of Lely dairy farming robots, presentation and sales pitches. -RW

Using garden planning software, allow for garden design of bulk harvest or daily production goals. Bulk harvest means all plants ripening at the same time for commercial sale or preserving them in bulk. Daily production goals means to produce a basket of different produce each day for use that day by a family, for as many days as the growing season allows. The daily production goal means seeding daily over a period of time and having plants to produce in various stages of ripeness.

As a design goal, specify a package of equipment and a garden area recommendation that will produce enough food for one person for one year. What is the one time investment cost of equipment? What are the ongoing costs? Per year, how much time can one person expect to spend managing the farmbot equipment and preserving the food?

As sub-catagories of Farm Bots emerge, the automatic seed sprouter for fodder production would be a worthwhile addition. All of the basics are already in place. These would be especially appreciated in drought stricken areas. -RW

* Something that caught ones attention and should be at least looked into and considered. Rotary Gardens in Home/towersRotary Gardens in Home/towers external image garden_schematic_2.jpg The cross idea and fertilization of ideas here could take this idea of from plan to flight with one in everyhome.

brainstorm.txt · Last modified: 2016/10/12 08:02 by roryaronson