Open source tech, solar and small scale farming Caroline Smalley | Jan 29 2016
What tools does SENSORICA have in development that would support small scale farming and the technologies around that, such as the sensors, drip systems and the My Arms Wide Open, My world in a Garden vertical gardens?
Hi Caroline! Apart for sensing and mesh network solutions, we also have a project for an apparatus similar to blood testing for diabetics, using a silicone microfluidic chip, to identify and quantify (%) whatever is in a drop of juice from produce. It would talk to an app on a mobile device and give…
Hi Caroline! Apart for sensing and mesh network solutions, we also have a project for an apparatus similar to blood testing for diabetics, using a silicone microfluidic chip, to identify and quantify (%) whatever is in a drop of juice from produce. It would talk to an app on a mobile device and give a list of substances and their %, that can be sent to a semi-centralized data base that would send back a certification for that product (or not). With this certification, local farmers can sell their product on the local market, distributers can also test the product, consumers can also check what they buy. Problems can be pin-pointed and trace-ability is very efficient, way more efficient than what big agro has right now. In short, it makes it easy for local producers to compete with international big agros to compete on the local market. In order to do this properly, we need funds and some time. We want to make this apparatus cheap (under 100$) and reliable to avoid being attacked by big agros on any small loophole. It needs extensive testing. We have the recipe of parts and electronics but still need to put them together and package. We also need to build a small 3D printer to be able to print series of molds to produce series of PDMS (silicone) small disposable microfluidic chips very cheap (PDMS is biocompatible, inert and biodegradable). If you guys can put us in touch with local farmer associations ready to invest in this we could build a team and have this done in a few mounths, max 1 year. The more funds we have to pay people full time, the faster we'll have it done. From experience, we know that projects that only pay when they reach the market advance slowly because people still like to see a paycheck to keep them motivated :) Other than that, we have that project to produce water from air with peltier effect plates, that can run on small solar panels. the amount of water produced depends on the amount of plates placed in series, for example 4 plates can produce 1L/h in 17% air humidity. Peltier plates are about $2.50 each and they also need heatsinks (radiators with thin metal blades), ideally stainless steel. That's not much water for agriculture but wit a watering ''Twig'' system at root level inside the soil, 100% of the water is used, not evaporated like when you water from above the soil. Such watering system reduces water use by 70%. We find that the best way to grow crops super efficiently is with aquapony, indoors: basically grow fish (for food) that and circulate water from tank to garden. fish fertilize the water, garden produces worms and bugs for fish. You get greens and fish in the same time and productivity is high. More on demand...
Thanks Daniel - some awesome solutions in the works! That said, I think it's important that we begin by developing our understanding about the challenges and opportunities as presently being experienced by Bergnek Projects and the people in the community. The products you are describing may not be of use at this time. They maybe more important issues to deal with and the solutions you suggest may not be easily for the community to adopt.
The immediate concern is about serving the needs of the vertical wall gardens (see link in question). Warren Te Brugge (founder of My Arms Wide Open) and Keith Mosumane will be able to answer questions that can help you to determine how you can best be of service.
"Unless you have a real understanding of the challenges and needs of the people you are wanting to help, and the people you are helping know WHY you are doing what you’re doing, HOW it can help THEM and why they going to do things differently, they don’t know what to do with what you gave them.” – Warren Te Brugge
If people cannot grow food in the first place, they have nothing to sell. The vertical wall gardens overcome the issue of restricted access to land for the affordable production of food where sales afford the development of other important projects. Let's take the time to understand Bergnek's story then discuss ideas for solutions from there.
So excited for what together we can do!
p.s. name tagging in forums coming soon :)