horto domi smart garden
horto domi smart garden
mar 16, 2012

horto domi smart garden

the ‘horto domi’ open hardware self-managing garden system

horto domi‘ by US design/engineering team outer babylon (will bratton and sam bagot), is designed as an opensource project to facilitate the growing of fresh fruit, vegetables, and herbs. recognizing that one of the biggest obstacles to home gardening is the individuals’ lack of time, the team developed a prototype for a raised-bed garden that automatically manages climate and soil conditions and interfaces with handheld devices to assist in management and control. the name, ‘horto domi’, in Latin signifies ‘home garden’, or ‘gardening at home’.

the prototype unit comprises the covered raised-bed itself, alongside a 1ft square electrical box with power supply and arduino controller. sensors within the system collect moisture and temperature data, with the intention that these levels can be automatically controlled and monitored via smartphone apps or desktop software. the raised-bed makes use of a vermiculture unit to distribute earthworms throughout the system, creating much more nutrient-rich soil; as well as fertilization injection and irrigation systems.

the designers are currently seeking funding on the ‘horto domi kickstarter‘ page, in order to provide an opensource hardware publication for the project, with the potential with increased funding to develop further control systems, better software, or DIY-style kits for the production of the garden.

watch the kickstarter introduction to ‘horto domi’ and preview of the prototype

horto domi smart garden full view of ‘horto domi’

detailed video walk-through of the electronics powering the prototype device see more construction and explanatory videos at the ‘horto domi’ youtube channel

horto domi smart garden rough design sketches

horto domi smart garden design concept

  • While I salute anyone trying to provide people with direct access to personally-farmed produce, this seems like technical overkill for very little yield. Why involve all of those pricey electronic sensors, wiring and gadgets for 30 square feet of soil-based gardening? Why set up a feedback-based watering system for such a small plot that could be hand-watered in moments? Last, why all the metal and the geodesic design for just 30 square feet?

    Gardening such a small plot is so simple. You plant seeds in an area with plenty of sunlight, you water the plants when needed. It\’s how the world\’s vegetation has grown since photosynthetic life has existed. There\’s no reason to add all of this tech to such a basic process.

    All of this said, there is a very real need for next gen gardening systems where soil and water are scarce. With the Horto Domi, access to soil and water is assumed. The guys behind this project might want to ditch soil altogether and look at hydroponic options to start, with the ultimate goal of a fully organic aquaponic system.

    With aquaponics, a family could raise vegetables at much higher yields per area than with soil growing, use 10% of the water needed while raising fish for protein in their diet. There is a serious need for an easy-to-use, visually compelling design for family aquaponics– no simple, single product exists today. That might be a trail worth blazing. In the case of the Horto Domi, the effort is great, but the results are the same as if I toss some seeds in a raised bed and water it every three days.

    Mike Payne of TheCoolist.com says:

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