While Artificial Intelligence (AI) might sound scary, it’s actually an incredible technology that can help people in so many ways. For example, Boundless Robotics (Boston, MA) is using AI to help people grow large-format consumable plants such as robust ghost peppers, the freshest of herbs, and much more, at home. This automated growing machine removes the challenges of growing at home – all the user has to do is add water to a reservoir and the AI-enabled hydroponics system takes care of everything else except the harvest. They’ve named their system “Annaboto”.
The genesis of the idea was born out of necessity. The founder, Carl Palme, has what he describes as “the opposite of a green thumb”; he struggles to keep any plant alive. Carl and his team have used their background in robotics and AI to develop a system that makes it possible for anyone to grow plants at home effortlessly, anywhere in the world.
This new AI-powered technology uses a combination of Time Series Data (e.g. room temperature, humidity, water consumption, etc.) and Vision (a camera that looks at the plant and can assess its health) to help create custom recipes that will help the plant thrive, all while the user sits back and watches the plant grow.
According to a USDA report, the allocation of a consumer’s food dollar found that only 16.7% is directly related to the cost of the food itself. The remaining percent is labor, transportation, packaging, and other costs. The environmental impact of products, food and drink comprise 20% to 30% of the environmental impact of private consumption (Tukker et al., 2006).
Great Britain, with its short growing season and powerful supermarket chains, imports 95 percent of its fruit and more than half of its vegetables. Food accounts for 25% of their truck shipments, according to the British environmental agency, DEFRA.
Consumers want access to different, fresh food year-round, but at what cost?
As the world faces greater supply chain issues and reduced access to fresh food, technologies like those created by Boundless Robotics will be of increasing benefit to feeding our world. We need to grow food closer to the source of consumption. In order to succeed, we have to leverage tools like AI so we can make this process scalable and more efficient. Not everyone has the time or expertise to successfully grow high-quality produce at home. Products like Annaboto are making it possible for anyone, anywhere to grow consumable plants at home.
AI isn’t scary, it’s just misunderstood. Happy “at Home” Growing!