Content created for the 5th April 2021 FabAcademy recitation Agriculture part of “sustainability, materials, agriculture” , by Luc Hanneuse local instructor in AgriLab. Live video feed from the self-driving tractor by Florent Lemaire local instructor in AgriLab. Recorded video background on a bicycle from AgriLab to nearby villages.
Agriculture & context¶
Agricultural scenes of threshing, a grain store, harvesting with sickles, digging, tree-cutting and ploughing from ancient Egypt. Tomb of Nakht, 15th century BC source : Wikipedia source
Different agriculture everywhere, based on geography, climate, economy and culture.
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Agriculture_in_Vietnam_with_farmers.jpg - example of farming in Vietnam
http://californiaagtoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/precision-agriculture-.jpg - Industrial farming
Ferme du Bec Hellouin - Permaculture French Farm
Ferme des 1000 vaches - Industrial milking farm
https://pixnio.com/free-images/2017/12/21/2017-12-21-13-50-20.jpg - The kind of picture on the milk bottle , this farming style exist
MIT Media Lab Open Agriculture Initiative (OpenAg) - FoodComputer - From 2015 till 2020
CityFARM - from 2013 to 2015
Urban vs Rural ?¶
DuckDuckGo search result for “smart gardening” , https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffab&q=smart+gardening&atb=v211-1&iax=images&ia=images
One of my first fablab project in 2011
Another vertical Food garden I made in 2015
Scaling problem , not sustainable : light, heat, water
Urban agriculture in vertical, indoor “farms” is on the rise. Electric lights allow the crops to be grown in layers above each other year-round. Proponents argue that growers can save a lot of agricultural land in this way. Additional advantages are that less energy is needed to transport food (most people live in a city) and that less water and pesticides are required.
Intensive Agriculture, tends to produce monoculture . You buy expensive specialised tools like gigantic tractors that force you to have huge monoculture fields.
Monoculture produce unbalance in the ecosystem , exhaust the soil of certain nutriment, this break dormancy of “weeds” and you need then to overcompensate with always more chemicals and more mechanical work of the soil, weeding and to compensate the exhausting of nutriment . Monoculture increases the risk of diseases or pest outbreaks.
FarmBot Genesis XL cost > 4000$ for 18m2
Organic Basil price in supermarket
Local vs sustainable¶
The transport pollution cost can be less than the pollution cost of local production
Artificial lighting to grow tomatoes, create unnatural scenery up to 10 km around.
Greenhouse illuminated the night sky to produce tomatoes huge impact on the whole ecosystem. The lighting perturbs wildlife in a wide area.
Urban and scale¶
Groot Eiland in Brussels : googlemap
One restaurant , One organic food shop : Groot Eiland
5 places with different types of food garden. Based on social reintegration through apprenticeship.
Another of the place is on a rooftop with different systems : Aquaponie , tomatoes and herbs in a greenhouse , external food garden. Installed by Bigh .
Climate is specific to areas
Time scale : growing cycle , seasons.
Impact on ecosystems can take years and are difficult to understand.
Size scale : one basil, personal food gardens, greenhouses, crop fields…
Living creatures : you cannot do projects or tests without respecting life for animal or plants.
Problems to consider for Electronics¶
What is specific to build aprototype for agriculture ? Harsh conditions :
Extreme temperature variation , Light variation
No grid power
No communication coverage
Many non-predictable external “problems” : pest, wildlife , other humans, extreme weather
Dust, mud, chemical corrosion …
natural sun light on electric cable, and ip68 connectors
harsh condition on electronics inside a protected case
external power and lorawan network
Function perfectly for 4 years, then heavy snow for a week finally attacked the IP68 connector and destroy the electronic board.
Community and technological response¶
2 examples :
AgOpenGPS and Centipède - Precision Agriculture
TTN and sensors - IOT and shared network
https://www.esticastresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Precision-Agriculture-Market.jpg - a map of modulation for precision agriculture
Precise positioning and self-driving tractors enable more selective work .
- the full ramp sprays the same amount of chemical
https://www.agrifac.fr/_library/39342/strictsprayplus.jpg - modulation control each spray to deliver a specific amount of chemical
modulation of chemicals , where it is needed , less chemicals less cost
cover the whole area efficiently, shorter path = less fuel
The fact that you drive at the exact same place, you compress the same area with the weight of the tractor, more agricultural coverage
Cost of a self-driving tractor is high . It is more complex to repair, you have to rely more on the constructor. Cliché : Smart electronics = short term life. Tractor cost a lot, constructors build non-compatible hardware and software, even among their own products… A tractor will not be able to communicate to the seed drill.
RTK service provider cost for a farmer, in France , Orpheon https://reseau-orpheon.fr/ , about 1k$ per year
AgOpenGPS , How to build systems that transform your tractor in a sel-fdriving system: software & hardware
Centipede , A network to share RTK antennas, and documentation on how to build your own GPS RTK antenna and share it with the community.
Centipede coverage RTK map on the 20th march 2021
RTK network vs GNSS
A 20-years-old tractor with a self-driving system built and adapted by farmers members in AgriLab.
Many 3D printed elements adapted to this specific tractor to enable self-driving.
Each wheel brand and model are different.
Difficult to have direct access to the driving system.
Farmers have to learn basic of arduino, electronics …
Debugging takes a big part of the process.
Many mechanical adaptations.
This video was filmed before some tuning of the “reactivity”, movements have been smoothed since;
IOT and shared network like The Thing Network¶
The Thing Network , shared LoRaWAN gateway, not specific to Agriculture, promote LoRaWAN.
The Thing Network LoRaWAN gateway map , 20th march 2021
The Thing Network enables anyone to install a LoRaWAM gateway and share it with the community.
Example of LoRaWAN cover of Orange
Commercial operators focus on high density population areas , rural agricutlure is located in low-density population area …
Satellite IOT should become more accessible but will not be optimal for all scenarios (payload delays, payload limits)…
Different sensors and microcontroller integration through TTN network. There is a big difference between weather forecast temperature (here from DarkSky) and measured temperature by self-made sensors. Some comparison of 2 identical small greenhouse, one automated by a thermal piston.
Many weather sensors, weather forecast is important in agriculture.
With local sensors, you can improve or monitor real weather.
Some agricultural IOT tools.
Image recognition IOT sensors, measure size and number of insects, recognise some precise insect.
Same kind of sensor principle to recognise and count the number of snails and slug, during the night.
Do we need sensors everywhere ?
Industry vs needed tools - self-construction¶
PréFabriqué , modular tools, you can decide for each tool position, you do not need to buy a new tool for each culture.
Commercial strip till, you have to work at high speed for large-scale field. With the prototype you can work on smaller scale field at low speed.
HighTech + LowTech = MediumTech ?¶
Human powered, adapted to certain agricultural practices, sustainable, DIY, “easy to understand” and to fix.
No external energy, automatic greenhouse window opener, thermal expansion piston.
Agriculture practises and cultural model¶
Do we need tractors of a few tons ?
Prototype small robot for mechanical weeding with some UniLaSalle students for the “RobOlympiades” contest , H3VR
Can presiced agriculture , multitool and other agricultural practises be merged or be inspired by each other?
Could help to make the transition to polyculture or permaculture to attain more symbiotic and sustainable agriculture practices.
FabAcademy projects around Agriculture¶
Here is a list of agriculture-related project made before 2021 during FabAcademy. I take the liberty to categorise them with some keywords. Those projects appears in a random order.
Green Bricks indoor watering system
Arduino Greenhouse broken archive
OXGROW video: https://fabacademy.org/2018/labs/fablabkochi/students/suhail-p/presentation.mp4 aquaponics indoor
Aquaphonic Home Farming system aquaponics indoor
BAMBOCO, An off-the-grid vertical herb garden vertical hydroponic farming, outdoor ?
Cogus video: http://archive.fabacademy.org/archives/2017/fablabaldeias/students/375/presentation.mp4 indoor Mushroom cultivation system
Mykonos indoor Mushroom cultivation system
Fungarium video: https://fabacademy.org/2019/labs/fct/students/monicapaula-costapedro/presentation.mp4 Broken links , mushroom
GreenTubes video: https://fabacademy.org/2019/labs/lakazlab/students/julie-sundar/presentation.mp4 indoor watering
Plant Hydrator Alarm video:https://fabacademy.org/2019/labs/rwanda/students/ariane-umuringa/presentation.mp4 indoor, hydrator indicator
FabSprout video: https://fabacademy.org/2019/labs/sorbonne/students/hanneuse-luc/presentation.mp4 indoor, sprouting
Mixoponics garden video: https://fabacademy.org/2020/labs/bahrain/students/muhja-aljaser/presentation.mp4 indoor, Aquaponics
Hydroponics 2.0 video: https://gitlab.fabcloud.org/academany/fabacademy/2020/labs/dilijan/students/joseph-zakarian/-/raw/master/presentation.mp4 indoor hydroponics, aeroponics ?
Azolla video: https://fabacademy.org/2018/labs/fablabvigyanasharm/students/rohan-rege/presentation.mp4 Aquaponics, biofertilizer, livestock feed, food and renewable energy
Sensoric Beehive video: http://archive.fabacademy.org/archives/2017/fablabbcn/students/149/presentation.mp4 Beehive, outdoor
Wetbot Farmbot alike
Automatic Fish Feeder video: http://archive.fabacademy.org/archives/2016/fablabdetroit/students/996/presentation.mp4 Aquaponics, indoor
Fogcatcher video: http://archive.fabacademy.org/archives/2016/fablabesan2016/students/328/presentation.mp4 wildlife, outdoor
Hydroponic system video: http://archive.fabacademy.org/archives/2016/fablabtainan/students/186/presentation.mp4 vertical, hydroponics
Scoop video: http://archive.fabacademy.org/archives/2016/fablabtrivandrum/students/388/presentation.mp4 chicken, outdoor
Seed-Sprouting Green House video: http://archive.fabacademy.org/archives/2016/fablablccc/students/457/presentation.mp4 greenshouse, outdoor?
My connected birdhouse video: http://archive.fabacademy.org/archives/2016/woma/students/382/presentation.mp4 wildlife, outdoor?
Adaptable folding structure Biosensor
The BirdCatcher Wildlife, outdoor
Plant stimuli Biosensor