Real-Life FarmVille: Farmbox, Android-Powered Urban Farming

May 13, 2011 - Written By Fred Scholl

An Android-Powered System for Vegetable Gardening

If you’ve been following the news coming out of Google I/O this week, you know that the Android OS is now being used to control lots of hardware besides phones and tablets. Android has been spotted running laptops, appliances, TVs, and more. And now, a particularly interesting application will allow our beloved little green robot to control a vegetable garden, through the Cloud.

Brilliant Service, a Japanese company, has created a solution for a computer-controlled growing system, known as a plant factory, which they are calling Farmbox. These self-contained ecosystems are offered as a solution to the woes of modern agribusiness: the rising costs of quality produce, use of polluting fuels in both its production and transportation, dependence on climate, and the presence of dangerous chemicals.

The solution brings vegetable cultivation into the home in the form of the plant factory, which they see as becoming something of a household appliance. Environmental factors such as lighting, water and air temperatures, nutrient and oxygen levels will be regulated and maintained by…you guessed it, an app on your Android phone. The app will upload data on your growing conditions to the Cloud, where it can be accessed by other growers, who will then be able to duplicate identical conditions in an entirely different location. Through this data-sharing system, the developers hope to achieve their vision of allowing anyone, anywhere, to grow good, healthy vegetables, effortlessly and inexpensively.

There is a growing interest in obtaining better quality, purer produce, so a system for growing good food yourself, in your home, cheaply and easily, is certainly a timely invention. And frankly, the idea of of controlling the system with an Android app and Cloud-based intelligence just seems really cool.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgKRtufQ0Bk