Image credit: PocketGrow
Whether we are talking about open source, automated garden monitors, more efficient industrial monocultures, or discussing whether soilless farming can be organic, many of our readers seem to have a strong dislike of overly techno-fix approaches to growing food. Nevertheless, technology does have a lot of potential to increase the efficiency of our resource use in all aspects of our lives—including gardening and agriculture. The latest device that claims to help do that is the PocketGrow LabBox Grower—the world's smallest fully-contained hydroponic grow box. The system is fully automated, and even Twitter-enabled. Though I guess some growers may want to be careful about what they tweet...Launching this Fall, the PocketGrow LabBox Grower includes an automated hydroponic drip system and efficient, high-powered LEDs to "deliver everything a plant needs to mature to harvest." The vision of the company is to build a network of growers who can share data and experiences to help optimize the system for everyone:
"Imagine, growing your favorite plant, herb or medicine in a micro container utilizing advance hydroponic technologies. A fully contained system that uses an automated drip system and high intensity LEDs to deliver everything your plant needs to mature to harvest. An open source software and product design where we all can collaborate to grow an endless supply of fresh greens and herbs year round."
As well as the lighting, grow box and nutrient delivery system, the company is also working on software to allow users to control light, temperature and nutrient flow from their computers, a web interface to share information with others, and live twitter updates so users can monitor the system's performance from their computer or iPhone.
I'm sure there will be many who use this device to experiment with indoor, urban food growing—but at risk of dredging up the marijuana as a gateway (to farming) debate once more—there are, of course, potential illicit uses too. Certain herbal growers would do well to be careful though. As one wag over at BoingBoing put it when they covered the LabBox, "Tweeting your "medicine" growing? What could possibly go wrong?"