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Food Computers Are Here and They’re About to Revolutionize Agriculture



Want tastier food? Just follow the recipe. Brainchild of Caleb Harper at MIT Media Lab, this food computer is an open-source technology that lets you engineer a …

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42 Comments

  1. More cutesy than practical. It appears much more a toy than a tool. You certainly can't grow substantials amounts and the choice is very limited (herbs, lettuce, etc) Virtually all the reviews focus on the "nerd" aspect – very little on product although a user forum was packed with problems (inconsistencies, mold, too wet, too dry, too acidic, etc) A spokesperson is honest about the device – it is not meant to save energy or lower costs but is instead "a new way of looking at food". So right off the bat, all the "green arguments" go out the window. Where I can see this useful is in space.

    Personally, I think this will be quickly surpassed by 3d printers who will eventually be able to give us any food we desire.

  2. I was thinking like something that 3d prints with organic material… Dude they've used computers to control growing indoors for years… Why do you need to waste this much plastic for one plant, don't just be impressed because someone says "open source", "articifial intelligence", buying local veggies, consistently, tackles all these issues

  3. An are you going to prepair the plant root microbe, be sterilizing the potting soil, and exposing previous plan roots to methane creating a slurey to use with that sterilized potting soil with microbe muliipcation that methane causes..! Microbe cell devision that only happens after exposure to methane, and the following injestation of nitrogen out of thin air that cell devided microbes do when exposed to methane..!
    Because if your not going to do that your collected data is worthless to a deep space or Mars mission.., !

  4. People use outdoors because you can plant in humongous wide fields getting FREE energy from the sun, instead of being confined to small boxes which each need electricity. No mention in this video about how scalable this technology is.

  5. There's an overabundance of food available to people on Earth. The problem is not the existence of the food. The problem is geopolitical and societal in nature. Take the US or UK for example waste approximately 50% of all produce. That's HALF of all that food wasted, completely. If you also factor in gluttonous consumption of food, it would probably save another 20-50% of that 50% that is consumed. Some other countries do occasionally have famine or lack of food. But that is for no other reason than the food that exists isn't available to them at the time. Even with efforts to deliver said food, often local political, military, terrorist etc type actions prevent the food from reaching hungry mouths. So, while this technology is neat and has a place in our future, it isn't going to solve the problem of food availability to humans on Earth.

    That all said, this is really neat! I think in the distant future, this type of thing will be very, very common. You can grow literally any crop you want using a "food computer" as long as you have what's needed. It really isn't even a very complex concept. simulate specific type of environment inside of a contained area, then grow crops in it. Easy peasy. Of course, there's a LOT of complexities involved in design here, and there's also the aspect of availability of base resources such as fertilizers, seeds, water, nutrients etc. Ironically, it's sort of like cooking a recipe. You have ingredients. You have specific method and time of cooking. You end up with specific dish. Same concept, really.

  6. Anyone can build one of these with the right sensors, CO2 foggers, lights, and hardware (e.g. Assorted pumps for water and nutrient solutions, fans, etc.). Use the plans from this, get yourself an old fridge, or large ice cooler, make some modifications, and you can create a version of this that can handle multiple plants at once.

  7. While this is exceptionally interesting, the statement that the phenotype is more The result of environment than genetics is patently false. I am a published plant biologist, and i love this machine, but these have been around for decades, just in other forms and scales. i first used a growth chamber, with computer controlled everything in 2001, and i was using an old machine.what this guy has done had made this tech accessible and attainable for everyone, although be ready to spend because these still cost a bit, and the nutrients, CO2 tank, etc. are also not cheap in any way. But they are accessible in every city, or via mail order.

    Overall, anything that increases interest in plants is good in my book, but i am incredibly biased.

  8. We should consider the large-scale agricultural applications of gathering crop/environmental data. Farming could be made extremely efficient through an increase in the precision of applied resources.

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