05/16/2019 at 01:07 •
i think data science is a huge thing for small farmers. its one of the technologies that I think is very needed
@freaklabs > I like it! data mining baby!
small point of fact, data science foundations are based on farming. ANOVA was designed to analyze agriculture experiments.
My area of research is mostly in CO² enrichment to counteract climate change. More recently Ive been curious with methane enrichment through pines
@freaklabs I can help. I wish more environmentally minded people had the data in mind.
@freaklabs > are you creating anything like sci-kit for ag?
I tell you, when we first moved out here, near 20 years ago now, we rarely had tick issues. Now going in the woods and picking ramps, you just pick the suckers off of you when you come back in. It is very bad.
but one of the thngs I'm obsessed with is teaching experimental techniques to farmers. I think it can benefit all farmers, indie or big ag. and its something most don't know how to do. Even a simple single factorial with one-way ANOVA that can be done in Excel could hugely boost productivity
@sadhana : not really. i'm not sure how useful machine learning is for ag at the moment. I got a suggestion that ML could help afarmer determine when to pick a cucumber
Big ag has control over a lot more than small. They have it down to about as tight as you can get it, with chemicals and irrigation.
@sadhana : i had to tell the guy you don't really need to teach a farmer when he can pick a cucumber
@matthewkleinmann : yes, there is a big focus on optimization
regarding the experiments, I think the interesting thing is that each farm is different iwth different soils. So running experiments on your own farm, speficif to your growing ocnditions can help identify how to optimize for that specific farm.
Like for us, current decisions are when to bring plant starts out from the house into the greenhouse and than when to put them outside.
MIT has the best machine learning system Ive seen in farming
@admin> Is the entire chat threads available later on?
One thing we are doing this year is I build a bunch of movable containers and we are going to try and put some things back in the greenhouse near the end of the season and see how long we can eke things out of them.
ie: what conditions can you germiante quinoa seedlings in for specific temperatures. these can be run in aquariums iwth small heaters. Knowing the optimal temperature of quinoa could tell you approximately what date you can plant quinoa in your region/zone
@enatalio -Absolutely. I'll copy the whole transcript and post it in the event page - https://hackaday.io/event/165315-iot-for-agriculture-hack-chat-with-akiba
@matthewkleinmann I find it intriguing that we don't have a good database for this kind of things. There are tons of local farmers almanach, but little in terms of well formatted databases
@matthewkleinmann : nice. that's ag reat idea for season extension. Actually we might have to copy you on that idea. it sounds realy interesting
@Dan Maloney > Thanks Dan!
What do you all think about hydroponic/aeroponic greenhouses? It seems like you could control the environment and nutrients more easily, but I guess they might be expensive to make and maintain?
sorry about the divergent threads. I only have around a four chat history on my current laptop screen
ha ha ha.
It is 2019, your screen resolution is crazy but you can read less lines than a 1990 IRC discussion
@WRR : i think hydroponic greenhouses are really interesting. actually hydro is good for urban growing or if you need really dense growing.
/me goes back mumbling about kids on his lawn...
@Yves Quemener > LOL!
@freaklabs top left corner of the chat window, right above, there are two "hambugers", press the right one
I will let you know how it works. The containers are small, about 1.5x the size of a 5 gallon bucket. I have a near endless supply of oak pallets and I set up a little factory in my wood shop and made them out of oak, with drainage holes in the bottom and runners you can can get a dolly under them.
@WRR : in response to controlling nutrients, I think its one of the drawbacks of hydro. Because you only get out of it what you put in, you don't get the trace minerals or even the benefiical bacteria that you get from composted soil.
@Arsenijs Oh, much better, thanks!
Freaklabs Id like to send you a photo later showing how crazy of a difference the germination temperature can make
Oh, the right hamburger is quite nice, but still have limited screen space. next time will use my big monitors rahter than laptop
I always though tthe name: hamburger was hilarious
Re: Hydro. I have tried this on house plants with good effect, have you tried making "tea" out of rich soil and compost and trying that in your hydro?
@freaklabs > actually this one is triple burger....haha
@freaklabs blame web designers for that name
It works well on houseplants if you don't wanna use miracle grow.
I'd like to experiment more with aesthetically pleasing hydro. for example hollowed out bamboo as pipes. i think it would blend the natural and tech well
but will probalby add that to the neverending pile of potenial projects
Very cool and even better if you can get the bamboo locally. I use all recycled and re-purposed stuff. I am very cash poor.
Bamboo is just miracle stuff. So many uses!
About greenhouses, there is also a hybrid approach that works well: put sensitive seedlings in a well controlled environment and plant them in outdoor plots once they are more resistant. You don't need to grow all the plant inside a greenhouse
the unfortunate thing is that there are so mnay things that we manage day-to-day that many projects fall by teh wayside. there are literally so many interesting things to look into in agriculture
@matthewkleinmann : out here, bamboo is a pest. we can't get rid of it fast enough.
Oh, re-doing the aeroponics (which uses PVC) with bamboo would be so nice...
Cool ideas, thanks for sharing! I hadn't thought of the energy cost to produce nutrients, and bamboo does sound like a great material
I use a radiator heater under a bunch of shelves for a 'germintation chamber'. Most things pop in 3 days. Temperature control is amazing.
We should talk to Noriko and Kawakami (the samurai one) about this, they would love it.
FYI, Yves is also interfacing with the company doing the weed picking robots using machine learning and ocmputer vision
My biggest thing with my greenhouse is getting water to it. It is next to the pond but far from power. Thus the home brew wind mill to run a small pump that will fill a stand tank and I can water out of the stand tank.
and developing an agriculture cable-bot
o/ This chat is a welcome distraction from my debugging of quaternions conversion
Yep, suspended robot, cable bot, wire bot, comes with many names
Cable bot like they use for televising football games?
@matthewkleinmann : yes, I find that power is one of the big factors that don't get taken into account in a lot of ag-tech prjects. we see so many raspberry pi powered ag devices, but they would never survive in a field unless you had huge solar panels and battery
It looks like a giant delta printer :D
that's what i thought
quaternions...ha ha ha. never associated that with farming
Matthew the problem with hydro nutirents is that nitrogen gets different uptake in roots compared to phosphate/potassium. It needs to be consistently monitored and adjusted. ive been building an ipen source doser that detects pH, EC, and NPK ratios in real time to dose using peristaltic pumps
i really like solar power but haven't explored windmill for power much. would like to investigate it more
I am trying to write the control in a bit unusual way in order to lure ML investors :-)
I have 2 small solar installs now, Last year I built the rotor for a vertical windmill. I need to get the pole in the ground. I am going to see if I can run one or two treadmill motors as generators to run a small bilge pump.
About power, we also have a good hydro potential here, but it is going to be intermittent
@sadhana So, that seems like the sort of monitoring problem you could handle with sensors and embedded devices - is it more complicated than taking readings and adding nutrients when necessary?
In regards to running hackerfarm, I think the final result is that we're a hackerspace and a farm, but kind of more farm than hackerspace.
that means that almost all of our technology is in the context of agriculture or food processing
Mine is both. A wide assortment of shops and ag.
@Jeff : We try to grow crops that aren't naturally found in Japan. The problem is to have things you cant find in grocery stores. at th moment, we are growing native Mexican crops like Jalapenos, Habanero peppers, tomatillos, and white native mexican corn
@freaklabs Other than the moisture meters, does hackerfarm have any other tech that is deployed in the fields?
@Jeff in case of the suspended robot, right now we are evaluating where it is doable to help a lot with automation. My dream would be to be able to manually pick up pests, so that one could automate organic vegetable production (which typically require a lot of labor) but in the end it will be dictated by the capabilities and profitability.
I like mushrooms, oysters and shiitakes, grapes, herbs, tomatoes, mellons, pumpkins. Critters, one pig, sheep, alpacas, bad little goats. Chickens...
It's getting on to an hour for this chat, not counting the half-hour or so of prechat discussion. I'm going to call an official end, but if Akiba is game to chat a little more, I say go for it. I'll just say a huge thanks to Akiba for making time in his schedule for this Hack Chat, which I found really fascinating.
we will be supplying mexican restaurants in tokyo with authentic mexican produce grown locally and organically.
But yeah, fruits and vegetables are super expensive here, due to several factors, so being able to produce some at small cost would be great.
Yeah, i'm okay to chat for a bit more.
WRR, the issue is ion selective electrodes are insanely proprietary anf expensive
Small fruits and most veggies do well in containers.
Thanks everyone for coming out. I know I didn't get to everyone's questions. My screen was scrolling like crazy. Please PM if you have specific aquesitons. I'd love to answer them
errr....if I can :)
Thanks to everyone for stepping outside the usual schedule for this one. And next week's Hack Chat with OSH Park is going to be off-schedule too - we'll be doing it regular time (noon Pacific) but on Thursday rather than Wednesday - https://hackaday.io/event/164402-osh-park-hack-chat
05/16/2019 at 01:06 •
I think people fail to appreciate how difficult solar is to do right from a mechanical engineering standpoint. Those arrays have a HUGE wind cross section, and you need to handle the forces correctly. If you don't, people can end up dead quickly.
We initially started with things like soil moisture sensing. FYI, my specialty is wireles ssensor networks and I love collecting data
What I learned from that was soil moisture is hard to measure accurately and you actually don't need that much precision. Many times you can eyeball it.
truthfully a lot of the sensors and IoT that companies are trying to sell to farmers aren't very useful, especially if they go out in the field.
I think with food computers its pretty good to zero in on the right chemical balances through rigorously tested results. Its hard to know exactly whats in organic fertilizer, that can create issues with consistency.
Have you thought about small scale robotics? We have a lot of Beyond Organic farmers in central Virginia and I have been working with a couple to apply robotics to some of their labor intensive tasks.
@freaklabs > What's your ultimate vision for the data?
Dirt varies quite a bit
for example, soil moisture sensors that get put in the soil are almost useless. the reason is the farmer needs to be able to till the soil after the crop is harvested. that means they have to pull up all those expensive sensors before they till. it adds more labor which is a no-no to farmers who are already labor constrained
My solar is very small. One building is 100W and the other is under that. If I need real power like when I am building I will drag a generator out. I also have my home brew CO2 powered framing nail gun.
Should you be targeting no till operations then?
@freaklabs > How about a drone with infrared. No need for physical sensors.
@sadhana : we invited one of the guys from MIT Media Lab to give a talk on food computers. it was interesting, but the final result is he's also interested in field growing.
@Freaklabs if you are growing things in the ground, do you have an irrigation system? If you don't what is the point of monitoring the soil moisture unless you have a means of controlling it
@freaklabs - Doesn't that just scream for a tiller that can sample and measure the soil on the fly? And perhaps log the data along with GPS data as it works the rows?
@sadhana : I think soil-less and soil growing are two techniques of growing. we have no bias actualy and are experimenting with hydro as well as mist growing, and field growing
It helps food computers to have field farming data to replicate the soil conditions, makes sense
@Dan Maloney : that's what the john deere tractors do, and I think that would be an interesting open source technology. We mainly owrk with indie farmers and if you look at their technology needs like Maslow's hierarchy of needs, many of them are not even on the bottom rung of hte ladder
Again, you can measure and log but if you have no means of control it is kind of pointless, IMHO.
From working with indie farmers, although its nice to have technology for automation, they actually need technology to generate revenue. basically many of them need help with basic business principles like marketing
If you can afford anything green and yellow you are not here (smile)
we run python workshops and arduino workshops, but the most popular are media arts, ie: photoshop and video editing workshops since they can use them for marketing.
we also do weekly marketing workshops where we discuss marketing principles and how to market authentically
and get their stories out. many of the farmers we work iwth have really interesting stories, especially about their food.
It would probably also help food computers to have global networks of spectrometers to replicate seasonal lighting conditions
Marketing is the hardest part and some crops are boom or bust. Mushrooms are very bad that way. You get a flush all at once and you have a very limited amount of time to sell them.
@freaklabs > In Japan? (workshops , etc...) is that right?
So one one hand, basic tech like photoshop, premiere proficiency is needed for revenue generation. then on the other, tech is needed for automation to reduce labor cost
@freaklabs Have you looked any of the Open Source Ecology stuff? They have been building all sorts of open farm equipment.
@enatalio yes: in Japan. we will put together acurriculum we can take on the road too. We want to do more collaborations iwth farmers abroad also
@nerd.king we were in contact with them for a bit, but haven't built any of their stuff yet
Re: automation, I think this is where a lot of the technology seems to focus on, especially in the news. This would be drone, ag robots, machine learning, etc.
@freaklabs > Nice! How about a links to the info?
We'll actually be posting all the workshop info on the github page. Some of it is already up there, but we're still evolving things. Basically anything developed at hackerfarm is open source, including workshop and technology
Automation you are generally talking big ag though, not small.
@freaklabs I'm interested in building a roving a drone that identifies and deals with weeds in beds. I'm starting to learn python and tensorflow for machine learning. Do you have any experience with something like that, or have heard of anyone else that would?
@matthewkleinmann : yes, and that's an important distinction. there's a growing digital divide beween industrial ag and indie ag.
Here at Hackerfarm, we host quite a few residencies with people that come through and ...
@freaklabs you found that the soil sensors have been less-than-useful. Have there been any bits of technology that have surprisingly added lots of value to what you guys are doing?
I know what you mean about the booms and busts freaklabs. One of the biggest challenges I saw at a vertical farm was growing the right amount at the right time. Too much and it all becomes compost, too little and you upset distribution companies
@Dan Maloney thanks for the link
@sean : yeah, actually we are working with a group sponsored by Sony on a weeding robot. It's being worked on by one of our robotics and AI specialists out here. they are sending an intern this summer. If you wan tto talk to him, let me know your contact details by PM and I'll introduce you
@Dan Maloney > Thanks for the URL
@freaklabs Awesome, thanks.
I got my grapes from a vineyard for free that went to automated picking. They needed one plant removed from every row because the machine that does the picking could not turn the corners without hitting the fence. Humans could pick right up to the fence..
@matthewkleinmann : farmers that partner up in the monsanto, dow, or john deere community get access to their data and technology. those that don't....well don't
They are all big $$. We are microscopic.
@matthewkleinmann : which is why there's a need for open source technology and even more, for training on how the tehcnolgy can be used in specific farming contexts
The tech that will help the little guy, IMHO is almost all simple and low tech.
@matthewkleinmann > Brains beats Buck$ anyday!
Id really like to visit that some time :)
for hackerfarm, we're trying to standardize our tech workhsops on python for genral programming and C/C++ for Arduino. we are still looking at micropython for embedded but are on the fence at moment
@sadhana : thanks! we have an open house at the end of the month and have workshops, tours of the area, etc. people are invited to stay the night at our residency spaces :)
Exactly how is python going to help you?
@matthewkleinmann : actually automation isn't that useful for farming. the real issue is that produce prices are so cheap because big ag has driven the price into the ground.
a useful analogy (for here) is electronics components. buying hand crafter artisan resistors is nice, ut you can get a 5000 piece reel for around $2
You grow things you can use. We do more bartering than selling.
You can also get a quad core 64-bit processor for $5. so from that point of view, selling components is difficult if you dn't have the economy of scale
@freaklabs > R U creating python libraries for ag work?
what needs to happen is that a lot of farmers need to have some type of value-add. This is the differentiation which could be how the food is processed, how it's grown, or growing speficif types that are unavailalbe by industrial ag
@sadhana > are you in Japan too?
You need to see big ag. It is all high tech. But they have the acerage to make it reasonable.
@freaklabs - Good point! Fruit farms can do ciders and vinegars, apiaries can do mead, etc.
Im in Colorado
You should see the high tech dairy farms.
this is where the marketing needs to come into place. if a farmer that grows blueberries goes up against inddustrially grown blueberries, they will have a hard time competing just based on price. but if they sell handcrafted blueberry jam, they can usually increase their profit margins by a large amount. So we are trying to work with farmers to identify how they can move up that value chain rather than competing iwth industrial ag
the big problem with agriculture is it's devolved into a go big or get out mentality.
Blueberries are difficult due to dormancy :(
many farms are tyring to go big, and taking on huge risks, and the smaller farms won't have the economy of scale to compete. it's turning into a gamble and the lifestyle is unsustainable. that's hwy there are less and less farmers
@sadhana > Ah great to know. It's my 1st time here and would like to connect by other means. How do I reach out to you?
And don't discount the intangibles when looking at adding value. People will pay a premium for locally grown produce - if they're properly educated.
You can also do u picks or sell them on being better. Welches sells a lot of jam. And they are hard to sell to. From on the plant to in the plant in under 2 hours I think my friend said.
@sadhana : PM me here and I'll get back to you
@sadhana : hard to talk with my screen scrolling so fast
@sadhana in Colorado you have a lot of high profit crops you can grow and barter with.
its actually fascinating because within agriculture, you can hit a good balance of cutting edge technology and old-world knowhow.
I think there is no problem to attract young people into agriculture, which is what eveyrone laments about. There needs to be training in technology within the context of agriculture, and in exchange they work in our fields. this is forming the basis for our residency program
With ag, unless you are growing indoors you have very little control over things. You can do a lot of measuring but at the end of the day, if you get no rain, or too much, or a late in the season freeze etc...
You learn programming, electronics, and general technology in exchange for field work.
Yeah definitelt Matthew
@matthewkleinmann : yes, that's the big problem with agriculture. if you're making big bets, ie: going all in on soybean, you don't know how the prices wil be at harvest. this is the problem with te soybean farmers and the tariffs iwth china. they lost almost the whole market for soybeans
@matthewkleinmann : in this case, it's manmade disaster, but the recent floodings and fires are also natural disasters tha tyou have to deal with. in many ways, farming is about managing risk, but in the current go big environment, the risk is multiplying
@matthewkleinmann : and we can see the result in increasing farmer suicides
hi, reading the backlog, happy to see I did not miss it totally
hmmm....sorry to rant and go a bit dark. it kind of bugs me
Hey Yves. So Yves is the AI and roboticist at hackerfarm
And even the highest tech will not save you. Last year we had a false spring in the end of winter. All the apple trees started blooming and of course it froze again and killed all the blooms. We had just a few apples, but the entire state, and we are a big apple producer, was screwed that year. All the tech in the world could not make it stay warm.
and also runs most of the python workshops :)
The threads are really hard to follow?
@matthewkleinmann : yeah, those are brutal. its interesting because i didn't fully worry about climate change until i got involved with farming
@enatalio : yeah, I need a longer screen...
@matthewkleinmann - Co-locate orchards with Google server farms?
Climate change is very real.
@dan na, bitcoing miners. (smile)
oope, bitcoin miners..
I'm only partly kidding - moving shipping container server farms around to where heat is needed isn't a half-bad idea.
actually if I look at the weather data from the past 25 years in this area in Japan (from the Jpaan meteorological website) you can actually see the warming trends. its quite fascinating. its something I'd like to create a python data analysis workshop around
The thing is the server farms pop up where power is inexpensive so that kind of limits where they like to be.