Innovative Hydroponics Automation System Improves Urban Gardening

May 30, 2012 – BROOKLYN, NEW YORK – Plug in and logon to Bitponics, the first ever integrated cloud based hydroponic automation system. Designed to be an add-on to any existing hydroponics system, Bitponics will simplify and automate the urban home garden by managing the plants’ needs, incorporating a crowdsourced online database for best practices and sending the user friendly and convenient reminders.

“Bitponics is a path into the future of urban home gardening. Through the development of open source technologies, we are making it possible for urban gardeners to care for their plants while they’re away,” said Michael Zick Doherty, co-founder and lead hardware engineer of Bitponics.  “Growing hydroponically is more than just about providing free food to your home-it is also about the educational experience that allows us to reconnect with what we eat, empowering us to eat healthy and protect our environment. It is also a great way for students in the classroom to use hydroponics as an applied method of understanding sciences such as biology and chemistry. They can see in real time the changes in the plants environment and how this correlates to plant growth.”

Bitponics works in two ways: a Base Station that monitors the urban home garden and an online Dashboard that grants remote access to monitor and adjust the plant environment to meet existing needs. The Base Station will collect readings from its sensors and log them to the user’s Dashboard. Users can also manually log data and even upload photos to track progress. Whenever sensor data deviates too far from the Personalized Growing Plan, Bitponics sends a friendly alert and explains how to fix it.  Automation capabilities include:

  • How many hours of light your plants need per day
  • When to change the lighting schedule (for example, when your plants are ready for their flowering phase, we’d switch the lights to a 12-hour cycle)
  • What pH range is safe for your plants
  • When to replace your nutrient solution
  • What balance of nutrients to use for each growing phase
  • How often to run your water pumps

Those interested in even more detailed data can also purchase at an additional charge an electrical conductivity (EC) sensor for measuring the concentration of nutrients in the solution.

Building on the values of open-sourced hardware, Bitponics will evolve as more users participate. Hackers, tinkerers, and the Maker movement are encouraged to redesign and improve the Bitponics system for others to enjoy. Additionally, once users sign up, they gain entrance to the Bitponics Community, where they’ll be able to share their Personalized Growing Plan and results, try out other members’ Personalized Growing Plan and rate them, and have access to all the information they need to get started even if they’re completely new to hydroponic gardening. As users participate and rate each other’s Personalized Growing Plans, a community of best practices will evolve. And with the help of the Maker movement, the entire community can enjoy producing better plants, crops, flowers, and anything else that grows!

“We created this project for everyone that loves plants. For people just starting their first garden and for old pros with experiences to share,” said Amit Kumar, co-founder and lead software engineer of Bitponics. “In addition to helping people manage their own garden, we want to create that sense of community that gardens have always offered. A place for people to learn from each other, but with the knowledge structured in a smart way so it’s super-easy for people to model their garden on proven successes. As the community grows, everyone’s knowledge grows. And we all help each other make our world a little more green.”

With help from the Kickstarter community, the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects, Bitponics is on its way to raise $20,000 by June 11, 2012 to help finance initial manufacturing costs. Future collaborations are on the horizon with New York community based groups and startups as well as a growing interest in developing education tools to incorporate in schools or community centres.

To learn more, visit bitponics.com or check out a brief video. To lend your support, visit the Bitponics Kickstarter page.

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