Prospective

Open-source robot could underpin the agriculture of the future

  • 25 Jul
    2017
  • 2 min

Rory Aronson, who came to the recent Viva Technology event in Paris to speak about the future of the food industry, told the audience about the work of his company FarmBot, which develops open-source farming machines.

One of these devices is FarmBot Genesis, an open-source robot that is designed to enable ordinary people to grow agricultural produce at home. The basic idea is to promote the spread of precision agriculture, hitherto limited to large-scale operations, among the general public, by allowing anyone who has a plot of land to automate the crop cultivation process. The current Genesis design enables it to cover a cultivable area of up to 1.5 metres by 3 metres, sufficient to meet the needs of an entire family or run a small business operation. The robot has been developed entirely in open source mode and with self-sufficiency in mind, in line with the belief of FarmBot founder Rory Aronson that food is a basic human right.

A forum has also been set up on the GitHub platform for users to collaborate, exchange ideas, share ways of doing things, and develop – either working alone or together with others – new FarmBot-based prototypes. This project, whose purpose is to enable a shift towards a new individualised, decentralised, food production model, could well be the future face of agriculture. Who knows, perhaps in the not-too-distant future, major agri-food corporations may need to cooperate with amateur crop growers and radically rethink their business models.

BNP Paribas partnered with the Viva Technology event for the second year running 

By Théo Roux