FarmBot Brings Robotic Farming to Your Backyard Garden

Dan Misener | CBC News | August 2, 2016

Open-source project allows you to buy a robot gardener, or build your own

The robots are coming... to water your garden. While many people find gardening with their own two hands a relaxing activity, a company called FarmBot is now selling robots designed to weed, water and grow fresh produce for you. CBC Radio technology columnist Dan Misener looks into the appeal of the robot gardener.

The first version of the FarmBot — called the FarmBot Genesis — is designed to work in a raised garden bed or garden box. The robot itself moves around using tracks on the sides of the box, and it works in three dimensions. So it can go left to right; forward and backwards; and up and down. If you've ever seen a 3D printer, it moves around in a similar way.

But instead of squirting out plastic, the FarmBot sows seeds, waters plants and gets rid of weeds — using different attachments for each job. It can grab different tools, depending on the task at hand. This robot has been in the works for a few years — but you can now actually buy one now. The California company behind the robot has started taking pre-orders, which cost about $4,000 Cdn. And in the last month, FarmBot has raised about $1 million to start manufacturing kits...