For People Too Busy to Garden, FarmBot Can Help

24 August, 2016

In a small home garden, about 1.5 meters wide and 3 meters long, a robotic device called the FarmBot is busy planting vegetable seeds. The FarmBot will control the soil's moisture, water the seeds and plants, and take out any wild plants or weeds.

Rory Aronson is the inventor of the FarmBot and chief executive officer of the company that produces it. He tells VOA who would find the device helpful.

"Our ideal customer is somebody who is a maker or a hacker type person who wants to grow their own food but doesn't have the time."

Aronson says he has been testing the FarmBot in his garden.

FarmBot can water plants.
FarmBot can water plants.

"We had Swiss chard, arugula, spinach. We also had broccoli, kale, beets, and parsnips. We had 65 plants total and so we got a pretty good amount."

To survive in extreme weather, the FarmBot is made of aluminum, stainless steel and 3D printed plastic. The tools are designed to plant, water and care for each vegetable. They are attached to a long, thin rod that moves up and down the garden.

Aronson says putting the FarmBot together takes about 8 hours.

"If you can use a screwdriver and follow instructions you should be able to put FarmBot together no problem."

The FarmBot works with Internet programs and can design a garden based on each person's needs. Its software is open source. That means the computer program that makes it work can be freely used, changed and shared by anyone.

Hundreds of people have already ordered the FarmBot online. They and can expect to receive their devices in February.

The cost of the FarmBot is $3,100. For now, it is only one size. But the company is planning to make bigger robots for commercial gardening.

I'm Dorothy Gundy.

George Putic reported on this story for VOANews. Dorothy Gundy adapted this story for Learning English. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.

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Words in This Story

ideal – n. someone or something that is believed to be perfect

customern. someone who buys goods or services from a business

makern. a person who makes something

hackern. a person who manages one's time and daily activities in an orderly way

aluminumn. a silver metal that is strong and light and that is used for making many products

stainless steel - a type of steel that does not rust

rodn. a straight, thin stick

screwdrivern. a tool that is used for turning screws