Global ag-tech innovator Autogrow has unveiled an open-source root zone monitor as part of an "open-collaboration" platform.
“OpenMinder is a product that someone can build themselves, but more than that it represents where this industry is going with open-collaboration, APIs and a focus on water sustainability,” explains CEO Darryn Keiller.
“Governments and local legislators around the world are tightening the rules for growers when it comes to water usage and run-off. Growers need to use any and all tools at their disposal to ensure they are not only growing sustainably but have the data to back it up.”
OpenMinder is an open-source DIY project from Autogrow targeted to technology developers and for application with small growers. Released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license, OpenMinder provides an open-source API used in conjunction with a Raspberry Pi HAT.
“Essentially we are giving away water management technology. There are very few people who understand how to design and build these technologies and, for someone motivated enough, we are providing the hardware schematics and source code to do it.”
“OpenMinder is the perfect product for an NGO or government to fund and manufacture for countries whose farmers need a subsidized or free, water run-off or irrigation monitoring system. And from an education perspective, there are high schools all around the U.S. and in other countries introducing classes on hydroponic systems. OpenMinder gives them a practical build they can do.”
Autogrow sees OpenMinder and other products built with APIs as the future for the industry where tech savvy growers will demand suppliers work together and provide tools that can integrate seamlessly and give them exactly what they want.
“When I first began shaping the new vision for Autogrow one key realization was to embrace the idea of open collaboration, and this was because the entire tech sector that supported indoor and controlled environment growing was built on closed and proprietary technologies,” says Keiller.
“Fundamentally, that behavior is a roadblock to accelerating growers and producers’ rapid adoption of new and beneficial technologies. Having polite discussions isn’t changing anything. Robert Stallman, GNU and Linus Torvalds with Linux changed the way that all commercial operating systems got developed by breaking the stranglehold of UNIX, which was dominated by Sun, DEC and IBM. We are doing the same for agriculture."