February Hardware Update

Over the last few weeks all sorts of FarmBot parts have started shipping to us! Some have come by plane, others by boat or truck. We’ve received a few pallets worth so far but we anticipate another 15 pallets worth to arrive in the next two weeks!

As a result, our small R&D space (above) has become overrun, signaling the time for us to expand. So last week we began renting an 800 square foot warehouse just across the parking lot from our existing office. Check it out!

And check out some of the production parts!

So what you all probably want to hear is this: All of this progress indicates that at this time we’re still on-track to receive all the FarmBot parts around the 20th, leaving us just enough time to do the final Q/A checks, packaging, and ship all of the first 350 units out by the end of the month. Hooray!

January Software Update

Check out what’s new in the FarmBot software world:

New Status Ticker

We completely rebuilt the logs and status ticker, combining them into one dropdown located at the top of the app. Now you can see what your FarmBot is up to, live from any screen. You’ll also find many new message types including network connection and other system messages; current regimen, sequence, and step messages; and even some easter eggs! Furthermore, all logs are now stored in the backend database allowing you to see your bot’s history, even if it goes offline.

Tools and Toolbays

We’ve added an entirely new page to the web app so you can create and manage your Tools and Toolbays. Each Toolbay has Slots that you can virtually load your Tools into, and then FarmBot can reference that location for completing its duties.

Importable Coordinates

Move Absolute Steps can now import coordinates from an object in the FarmBot database such as the Tools in a Toolbay! Coming soon: The ability to import coordinates from Plants and Weeds.

If-Else Statement

The If Statement Step has been polished up and now supports the Else condition. This will allow you to make conditional Sequences such as the one shown below for monitoring soil moisture and watering if its too dry.

Configurator

The FarmBot Configurator has been completely refactored. It now looks better, supports ethernet connections for Raspberry Pi 1 and 2 users, and shows logs for debugging purposes.

Crop Icons!

We’ve begun developing the open-source crop icons that will be used on the farm designer. By the end of February we plan to have 100 icons for the most commonly grown vegetables, and we hope to continue developing icons in the months to come.

Other important software updates

  • FarmBot OS now supports Raspberry Pi 1 and 2!
  • Continuous Integration is setup for all major codebases which allows us to systematically test our builds before we push to the servers
  • Toast Notifications have been refactored and now include a countdown timer indicating how much time is left before the notification disappears
  • Increased test coverage across the codebases
  • Regimens can now be edited on mobile devices

We’re all sold out! (sort of)

On January 7th we pre-sold the last available FarmBot Genesis Kit as part of our first production run. That means that any pre-orders placed now and into the future will be part of our second production run and ship later than February. We’re still working out the timeline for the second run, but a conservative ship date is in July. Pre-order your FarmBot.

Production Update

About a month ago we wrapped up the final changes to the FarmBot hardware design, reviewed the final sample components, and gave the go-ahead to our partner factories and suppliers to produce 350 FarmBot kits. As of this writing we have ordered 97% of the components that will go into the final boxes and we hope to have the remaining few components on their way to us by the end of next week. So far we have not encountered any serious supply chain issues that will cause a delay in shipment, indicating that we’re on-track to send the first batch of FarmBots out towards the end of February! Check out the photos below of some of the production components:

The motor kits (above) include four custom laser engraved NEMA 17 stepper motors with pre-mounted rotary encoders and fully assembled wiring harnesses. The photos below show bulk quantities of extrusions, springs, v-wheels, spacers, and custom cardboard boxes.

Some of the plastic parts in the FarmBot Genesis kits will be injection molded out of gray plastic. The sample white Seed Bin pictured below was the first one to come out of the mold!

What’s Next

Once we receive all of the components at our headquarters in California, we will be assembling a few complete FarmBots to make sure everything goes together smoothly. If we find that anything needs to be changed, we will have a few weeks to order additional parts or make the required modifications. Then we will complete the final quality assurance checks for all the kits, pack everything up, and send them out the door! Note: Before we ship anything out, we will be in touch with all of our customers to ensure we have your correct shipping address.

We’re all sold out! (sort of)

About a week ago we pre-sold the last available FarmBot Genesis Kit as part of our first production run of 350. That means that any pre-orders placed now and into the future will be part of our second production run and ship later than February. We’re still working out the timeline for the second run, but a conservative ship date is in July. Pre-order your FarmBot.

2016 Wrapup

Now that 2016 has come to a close, we’re looking back on what we’ve accomplished over the last 12 months. In the beginning of the year FarmBot successfully grew over a dozen different vegetable crops. During this time we shot timelapse video of the whole process, eventually using it to make our launch video.

In July, we released our debut product to the world: FarmBot Genesis – humanity’s first open-source CNC farming machine. With the help of social media and news outlets, our video was shared and played over 100 million times across the Internet, driving over $1 million worth of FarmBot pre-orders.

Since then we grew from a part-time team of 3 to a full-time team of 6, and have been working hard to develop software features, make improvements to the hardware design, and ready everything for mass production.

Now we find ourselves already in January, overseeing production and getting ready to start shipping the first batch of kits next month.

Needless to say, it was a hallmark year for FarmBot, and we’re looking forward to furthering this technology together with you in 2017!

You can still pre-order a FarmBot!

Want to get in on the first batch of FarmBots set to ship in February? We only have about 10 kits left available for pre-order. If you don’t make the first batch, you’ll need to wait until our second production run. Pre-Order Your FarmBot today.

FarmBot Sales Map – December 4, 2016

Check out this updated FarmBot pre-orders map! Quite a bit more impressive than the first map we made back on July 18, huh? We really are a growing, global community, and we can’t wait to see how everyone uses their FarmBot come February! Want to see yourself on the map and help us pioneer the open food future? You can still pre-order a FarmBot, which will ship out with our first production batch in February.

FarmBot Sales Map - December 4, 2016

Announcing FarmBot v1.1

Over the last few months we’ve been hard at work further refining the FarmBot Genesis hardware design and readying it for mass production. This process has included visiting factories, making part modifications, exploring different manufacturing techniques, and ultimately building some v1.1 devices both big and small!

farmbot-jr

The process has been both challenging and eye opening. We’ve learned a lot about how to mass manufacture products vs just building single prototypes. And what’s most exciting is how the quality of the parts and the overall product is dramatically improving, while the cost to produce it is coming down.

What this means for you is that FarmBot is easier than ever to assemble, looks better, and will last longer. And for us it means we can dedicate more resources to our open-source research and development.

So without further ado, check out the v1.1 documentation and CAD files to see what’s new with FarmBot Genesis. And browse the gallery below for some of the highlights of v1.1, and the process of moving to mass production!

plates-drawings

bearings

compliance-testing

motor-with-engraving

hardware-kit-design

plate-surface-treatment

motor-testing

anodized-tool-bay

plate-samples

seed-injector-v1-2

stamped-plates

packaging-sample

November 2016 Software Update

Since the last software update in October a lot of exciting things have happened here at FarmBot. First, we’ve expanded our team again! Welcome aboard Chris, we’re excited for you to join us as a frontend web developer! Chris has hit the ground running and started making improvements to the web app’s UI and adding new features. Just in the last month we now have:

Drag and drop sequence steps!

drag-and-drop-sequences

A unified login/create account/welcome page

unified-logincreate-accountwelcome-page

A customizable Peripherals widget so you can easily augment FarmBot to control more devices such as LED lights, relays, pumps, or fans.

customizable-peripherals

Other important software updates this month included:

  • Support for SSL throughout the entire software stack (thanks Rick!)
  • Regimens are now supported at the Raspberry Pi level (huge props to Connor for this one)
  • Sequence steps can have custom names
  • Sequences and Regimens can be copied

Public Roadmap

As we gear up to ship out our first hardware kits in February, we thought it would be nice to show everyone what exactly we’re working on with the software, what is done, and what we hope to have completed by February. So today we’re announcing our public roadmap, available as a Trello Board here: https://trello.com/b/AVGR1aRQ/farmbot-public-roadmap.

The roadmap is broken into list pairs, with each pair indicating a specific area of our software platform such as “Controls”, “Regimens”, or “Arduino”. Each pair contains two lists, one for the things that are completed for that area and one for the things we have yet to do.

As we build new features of the next few months we’ll be updating this roadmap regularly so you can keep track of what’s new and what’s coming soon.

farmbot-public-software-roadmap

 

Introducing the New FarmBot Wiki

For a long time now we’ve been using the popular MediaWiki software to power the FarmBot wiki. However, with experience we’ve found that software difficult to use, difficult to maintain, and extremely susceptible to vandalism. Today we’re announcing that we’ve switched to the DokuWiki platform for the FarmBot Project Wiki. This platform is very easy to use and meets all of our wiki needs. So check it out, write or edit some content, and let’s start documenting our collective FarmBot knowledge together!

farmbot-wiki

FarmBot Software Update October 2016

We’ve been hard at work the last few months working on a ton of new features, refactoring old code, and hardening the codebases up and down the stack. Here is a breakdown of what we have accomplished recently:

The Web App

  • Now features continuous integration so that we can deploy faster and more often. This allows us to spend more time developing features rather than doing dev ops. It also allows us to test new features and fixes faster and more often.
  • Sequences and regimens now have a user adjustable color so you can make all of your watering regimens blue, all of the planting sequences green, all of the tool sequences orange, or whatever makes sense to you.
  • The webcam widget now stores a custom URL so you can add any webcam stream you want to your dashboard.
  • You can now create Regimens on the web app (support on the Raspberry Pi is coming soon). Regimens allow you to schedule sequences based on the age of a plant. That means you can make a regimen to take care of a plant throughout its entire life, and then re-use that regimen for all instances of that crop.
  • We’ve readied the app for internationalization, which means that it will soon be available in many more languages other than English. Stay tuned for a call for translation help 🙂
  • The farm designer plants are now represented by the appropriate crop icon (about 30 icons exist so far).
  • The farm designer is now integrated with OpenFarm.cc so that any crop in the OpenFarm database can be searched for and selected for placement on the map.
  • Dropdown widget help text, improved navigation UI, users now stay logged in for up to 30 days, and countless other stability improvements.

app

FarmBot OS

  • We’ve completely rebuilt the Raspberry Pi Controller using Elixir with the Nerves framework. Using Elixir allows the controller to be more reliable, hot reload updates, and all around have better performance compared to our old controller. You can now push over-the-air updates to the Pi Controller and the Arduino Firmware by clicking one button from the web app, and soon enough we’ll have an auto-update toggle so you never even have to press the button to stay up to date with the latest features.
  • There is now a functioning wifi-configurator app that makes connecting your FarmBot to your home wifi network and web app profile a breeze. No SSH or external screen and keyboard required – simply use your smartphone or laptop to configure FarmBot.
  • The new controller and wifi configurator are actually bundled into an entire OS build process which means with one command you can create a ready-to-rock FarmBot OS .img file for flashing onto an SD card. This build process includes all of the FarmBot software so you no longer have to use an external keyboard and monitor and hours of your time to prepare the Raspberry Pi. Soon we’ll be regularly publishing OS builds so you can just download the latest image file, flash it, and fire up your FarmBot right away for configuration.

wifi-configurator

FarmBot Arduino Firmware

  • Now in beta: closed loop feedback control with rotary encoders. This is important so that FarmBot knows when something has gone wrong (such as a vine getting in its way) and it can alert you to investigate the problem. Without this feature, FarmBot’s motors could stall and then it could go and accidentally destroy the whole garden.
  • There is now a pin watchdog feature which prevents the arduino from keeping any peripheral on for too long of a time, which could be dangerous.

Computer Vision (in beta)

  • FarmBot’s built-in camera can now experimentally auto-calibrate itself and map image pixels to coordinates within the FarmBot system.
  • Experimentally locate the tool bay and tools by using red markers and some image processing.
  • Experimentally detect all plants in the bed so that they can be marked for removal when they are determined to be weeds.

 

What’s Next

There are many things still left to do and we have some wildly cool ideas for the future of the FarmBot software ecosystem. Here are a few of the immediate goals that we hope to have released in the next few months:

  • Regimens at the Pi level
  • Third party script execution on the Pi (for image processing and other capabilities) and the ability to call a script from a Sequence
  • Bring back Events (formerly known as Schedules) for scheduling Sequences like calendar events (one-time or on a repeating basis)
  • Custom Sequence Step names so you can make your Sequences easier to read, your Logs more usable, and the status ticker more descriptive so you know exactly what your FarmBot is doing at all times.
  • Device settings stored in the API and synced with the device
  • Customizable tools and peripherals widget for creating new and editing existing labels and pin numbers
  • Drag and drop Sequence Steps for a faster and more fun sequence creation and editing experience
  • Plant objects at the Pi level
  • Ability to reference Plant coordinates in a sequence
  • Sequence parameters, and the ability for child Sequence Steps to reference them
  • Regimen parameters, and the ability for child Sequences to reference them
  • Plant Groups

 

Want to get involved? Drop in to GitHub to check out our repositories and help out where you can!