AgriFutureHK Food Computer

A complete closed system within a box for plantation and ecological experiment

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A modify version of OpenAG Personal Food Computer for small-scale automation purposes.

With the start of MIT Media Lab Open Agriculture Initiative, I get in touch with farming technologies. Although the food computer created by OpenAG was a great success, the pause the support with all version of food computer hardware. As a electrical engineer who interested in farming, I'm sure we can do a better job then the current system available outside.

AgriFutureHK as a interest group based in Hong Kong would like to recreate the food computer with a few modification to improve the hardware design and makes it ore suitable for apartment application. With all these is mind, we hope to opensource and share the develop history for others to recreate their own set of food computer in more locations

AgrifutureHK FC Wemos d1 r32 pin assignment.xlsx

A pin assignment for AgrifutureHK Food Computer MCU board

sheet - 10.07 kB - 08/17/2020 at 09:35


  • 1 × SFX power supply Power supply module for Food Computer
  • 1 × Wemos d1 R32 board MCU for Food Computer
  • 1 × pololu dual VNH5019 motor driver shield Motor control shield for Peltier and peristaltic pump

  • Major review for the prototype system v0.1

    Benny Cheung09/12/2020 at 14:35 0 comments

    With my working during the intensive week, I have completed the prototype system with the following features:

    • Ebb and flow hydroponic system with peristaltic pump 
    • RGBW lighting with SK6812 chips and custom made PCB
    • Air, power delivery and wiring
    • Sensors (ambient temperature and humidity, water temperature)
    • Cooling unit to test the electronics choices
    • MQTT system with EC2 server with custom domain 
    • MQTT msg handling with node-red
    • Smart phone dashboard with MQTT Dash
    • PC dashboard with node-red dashboard

    Deployment environment photo also updated in the project.

    During the two weeks of evaluation , a few issues pop out and forced me to stop the testing. A list of issues are stated below

    • The LED tends to heat up quite hot. Thermal management should be in place to extend the life of LED panel
    • The peristaltic pump form black particular in the rotation parts and possible damage of rolling parts. The speed of peristaltic pump should be reduce 
    • The planter have serious grow of algae and rusting occur. Plastic planter will be explore in the coming version 

  • Know your hardware

    Benny Cheung08/17/2020 at 09:34 0 comments

    In order to address all the feature required for the food computer(FC), it is important to choose the right hardware to power. One of the major component is controller for the food computer. As someone familiar with electronics, both embedded system (Raspberry Pi) and Micro-Controlling Unit (MCU) (Arduino/ESP32/ESP8266/SAMD21/etc,) are consider under the initial design. I would like to explain reason of choice behind.

    Read more »

  • Intensive week

    Benny Cheung08/11/2020 at 04:04 0 comments

    Other stuff from my life definitely toke me more time than this project. However, I have got my block leave for a whole week and finally can focus on this project to make it work in some way. I also did some ground works for the mini-version of AgriFuture Food Computer ad will share you guy in the coming week. Stay in touch!

  • Conclude the past

    Benny Cheung12/14/2019 at 12:11 0 comments

    It been a month from my last log, I should update the project more frequently. Working in full-time is tough enough which makes me very hard to find time to balance my work and this project. Nevertheless, I still want to report what we learn from last year. 

    The picture we show on the page is the prototype from last year. We toke a very huge step to build a rack prototype for "industrial" scale. Although the number of plant head may reach the standard, the build quality definite not. Here are the problems:

    • Planter water leakage problem with NFT technology
      • End cap cannot secure well to be water proof
    • LED not water proof
    • Wires everywhere without proper planning
    • Algae buildup without proper management

    Those problem keep us from fixing problem instead of developing something useful. As our project period end (end of semester), we abandon the previous prototype and pause the development  to rethink the next step. 

    Here we come to today and a smaller scale prototype are being develop. Hope I can have more time in Christmas and work on both prototype and log to catch up with this project.  

  • Starting from Scratch

    Benny Cheung11/16/2019 at 15:31 0 comments

    It's been a while for updating our system progress. As graduating from college and working full time as an electrical engineer, our team has less time working on the system and only able to develop the system as hobby. Our demo system during one year of operation and maintenance also encounter multiple major break point which led to a redesign of system is needed (more on that story later). Currently, we are working on a smaller system which is easier to maintain and rapid prototype. Stay tune on upcoming log and hope the small scale prototype work as charm.

  • Choose right system

    Benny Cheung06/13/2018 at 07:36 0 comments

    Hydroponics means planting with water instead of soil. There are several system available for use and most of them do have their advantage and disadvantage, Is the update, let's discuss more about the different type of system and choose one to move on for this project.

    Read more »

  • Starting from the beginning

    Benny Cheung06/13/2018 at 06:10 0 comments

    Nowadays, there's a lot of hydroponics system available in the market. With the development in technologies and increase in human laziness, such system getting more available and popular. However, current system still suffer from quite a few problems. In this update, I would like to use MIT OpneAG Personal Food Computer as a basis and discuss some of the disadvantage of such system. I would also suggest some directions to improve on existing architectures and setup an experimental testing unit in Hong Kong. 

    Read more »

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