FarmBot in Education
Over 500 educational institutions have integrated FarmBot into their curriculum - inspiring the next generation of farmers and empowering young engineers with capstone experiences and research opportunities like no other
In a few paragraphs, briefly introduce your project. Describe the problem you want to solve, and explain how a technology solution could address it. Why is this issue important globally or in your field, and for whom? Summarize any relevant literature or evidence addressing your issue, and explain how your approach is new or unique. Include citations in the Works Cited section below.
The purpose of our project is to motivate people to think of new ways to obtain food. Most of the food that we purchase in stores tends to be highly processed in order to extend its shelf life and profitability. In order to be successful, that means herbicides, pesticides, preservatives, and other unhealthy treatments have been used. Most of our food is also highly processed and too much sugar and fat has been added. Why not grow your own food in your yard or inside your home with a CNC machine running it automatically and remotely? You will also save gas when you go to a grocery store to buy food. Most people like the concept of urban farming but like the idea of kneeling down and getting your hands dirty under the hot sun is not appealing. Telling and watching a robot do it for you is a better idea. A company called farm.bot has invented such a machine using CNC technology and many people including ourselves would like to make some innovations to it to take it to the next level and hopefully make it scalable for all of humanity to enjoy.
Goal and Objectives
In a few paragraphs or a bulleted list, describe the goal and objectives of your project. What technology product, improvement, or method do you plan to create, and how will it create a positive change or impact? Clearly describe your target end users, and explain how they will benefit from your project. Your goal should be impactful, specific, feasible, measurable, sustainable, unique, and/or innovative. What objectives or results do you need to achieve in order to ensure your goal is met? Include appropriate testing or demonstration targets as well as technical development benchmarks.
Our goal is to set one up in one of our classrooms at our high school and to have 380 students directly involved in the project. They will have to learn how it is assembled and programmed, as well as collaborate on ideas that will improve its development and scalability. We will have to measure the impact of the CNC machine by weighing how much produce is created by each team. We plan to have an additional nozzle attachment that will apply diluted organic liquid sprays (i.e. neem, dove soap, baking soda) toprent and/or treat diseased or insect impacted plants. We also plan to use devices that will deter bugs and other pests from entering the garden in the first place. We would also like to test various types of lighting systems that impact plant growth. We will be using Ring web cameras to provide 24/7 monitoring of the CNC farm. If the 1.5x3 meter farm can provide enough nutrients, minerals and vitamins for one adult per day then we will consider the CNC farm a success. As an option, the produce from the farm can be juiced as a green smoothie and stored in a refrigerator for later consumption.
Please provide a detailed description and timeline of the methods, tools, or techniques you will use to create your technology product or method. Describe how you have/will engage your target users in your design process, and explain how you will ensure your methods are inclusive, ethical, and sensitive. Explain why you think your methods are likely to achieve your goal, and describe any existing evidence or work you will apply to your context. If others have tried to solve this problem with different approaches, describe why your approach is better. Cite relevant literature or evidence, and include citations in the Works Cited section below.
The students will need to learn the basics of programming, and to help their understanding of how a CNC machine works, they will pretend to carry out the robot functions by using the square tiles on a floor instead of the dirt floor of the garden to plant, irrigate, weed and harvest produce as human robots. Once they have mastered the programming of the CNC machine, they will look for ways to optimize and make innovations. We plan to add new bays that will house diluted liquid treatments for the soil and plants. For example, a few drops of neem oil mixed with a liter of water will be used as a natural pesticide. A few drops of dove dish soap will be used to kill aphids. Some drops of apple cider vinegar mixed with water will boast the immune system of the plants. Iron chelate mixed with water may help yellowing leaves turn green.
Works cited for proposed liquid mixtures:
Final Products and Dissemination Plan
In a few paragraphs, please summarize the relevant outputs you expect to produce (e.g., a prototype, publication in a technical journal, etc.), your specific target audience(s) for each, and how you plan to disseminate your results. Please explain how your dissemination plan integrates diverse stakeholders including your target end users, and will maximize the potential for uptake of your technology product or method.
CNC Robot Farm is a research project that aims to understand how growing crops through automation can maximize the quality and availability of fresh organic produce within a family yard or room. We hope to launch later this school year and enroll 380 high school students, and share the information to 20,000 Hawaii State Farm visitors and 100,000 youtube channel visitors.
Students will take measurements of produce and collaborate to come up with innovative strategies to improve the CNC Robot Farm. After the students are enrolled in the project, they will complete formative and summative assessments via google forms to evaluate their participation and contributions to the project.
Given the large number of participants, and rich data, we are eager to disseminate the data and project findings in an engaging, innovative manner. The key audience for this dissemination project is comprised of Kahuku High and Intermediate school students. We will place the findings back in the hands of the participants and a larger Ko’olauloa, Hawaii community to spark conversations, reduce stigma of replacing grass lawns with farms and inform changing policy and practice to local Home Owner Associations, local governments and the media. Since the audience is comprised of mostly high school students, we seek innovative, creative ways to reach our audience, outside of the traditional peer-reviewed journal process. It was determined that a website would be the best vehicle for dissemination. The website will be housed on the project’s home website (http:yes.education) and will have links where students can look up specific data, outputs and impact.
Luckily, the CNC Robot Farm project has established a rich array of community and university partners to help us spread the word about the website including Kahuku Hospital, Kokua Hawaii Foundation, BYU Hawaii University, Henry Fong Nursery, and a local Urban Farmer Facebook group ‘How Does Your Garden Grow?’ with almost 1,000 members. We also have our own Facebook page called ‘YesEntrepreneurSuccess’ and a youtube channel called “HawaiiSustainability”. Our partners and online platforms can also form a strong foundation for communicating research outcomes. Research outcomes will be communicated through the website, as mentioned above.
Students can peruse student projects, look at prepackaged descriptives put on the website and search through the data to ask and answer their own questions. Results will be displayed in a tabular and/or graphical format, depending on the nature of the result.
Impact will be evaluated in two distinct ways. First, traffic to the webpage will be
Recorded through google analytics. Secondly, the “like” and “share” button on the website and youtube channel will provide direct evidence of both engagement with the website and further communication about results.
Monitoring and Evaluation
In one or two paragraphs, please briefly describe how you will evaluate the effectiveness of your project. How will you know if your project is being adequately implemented, and whether it is achieving its intended goal? To the extent possible, list the indicators you will use to monitor your project implementation.
We will evaluate the effectiveness of the project by counting “Wow’s” exclaimed by participants and onlookers, but more importantly, we want to motivate as many people as possible to start their own food production system at home. Hopefully they will be inspired to learn STEM, robotics, CNC technology and programming to help them land a high-paying job in a fulfilling career or internship. We want to spark interest and imagination in both young and old minds and have fun during the process. The end result is plentiful, healthy organic food! Imagine growing all the ingredients for a pizza or a delicious fresh salad.
Please explain how you plan to train your target end users on using your technology product or method. In a few sentences, please describe how your project will directly benefit individuals in the community, region, or country in which you are working, including through professional development, mentoring, or training of community members; by advancing local socio-economic development; or by other means.
We will share any programming code with the rest of the students, families in our communities as well as the Farm Bot team and users. If everyone employs a system in their yard or home like this they won’t have to depend on long food donation lines, which is the case in our island due to COVID-19. We will provide sample farms at a nursery so that the rest of the community and elementary schools in our district can visit.
Include any bibliographic information to support the research, stories, educational, or scientific evidence you reference in this application. Links to your portfolio that demonstrate your ability to execute the current proposal are required.
One can visit our various projects on our http://www.yes.education website that demonstrate our ability to execute this proposal.
Genesis Farm Bot
Kirsten Dirksen review of Farm Bot
KHIS High School Senior Arduino/Garden Tower project
KHIS High School Senior Sustainability project
KHIS High School Senior using Aquaponics to Treat Depression at a Mental Health Facility
Sample of Green Summit projects
Even though we are based in Hawai'i, our projects can be done anywhere in the world.
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