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(PCWorld)   Old and busted: swords to ploughshares. New hotness: microchips to lettuce   (pcworld.com) divider line 43
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2236 clicks; posted to Main » on 15 May 2014 at 8:02 PM (31 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



43 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-05-15 06:12:29 PM  
Very neat, but I always feel compelled to ask, is this more sustainable than just growing it in the ground (yes, I realize they have a problem with the soil near Fukushima) or even more obvious, abstaining from lettuce if you have a problem with potassium?

I hope we get some good discussion of indoor grow op of leafy greens going.  These are always enlightening threads.
 
2014-05-15 08:07:35 PM  
One problem they cannot overcome is the fact that it is still lettuce.

meat0918: Very neat, but I always feel compelled to ask, is this more sustainable than just growing it in the ground (yes, I realize they have a problem with the soil near Fukushima) or even more obvious, abstaining from lettuce if you have a problem with potassium?


At least the way the article claims, loads of potassium in veggies is fairly common (link). I suppose someone with the issue could avoid lots of different veggies, but it seems that cuts out quite a bit.
 
2014-05-15 08:10:57 PM  
idk man, 1 white mana creature removal is tough to beat.
 
2014-05-15 08:10:58 PM  
I bet that will be affordable.
Would you like some lettuce on your burger? only 2.00 more!
 
2014-05-15 08:12:08 PM  
It would be better if they were growing potatoes. Then you could go from microchips to


veggies.co.uk
 
2014-05-15 08:13:17 PM  
FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS.... is there you'll have to pry my laptop.
 
2014-05-15 08:14:57 PM  
At roughly ¥500 (US$4.90) per 90-gram bag, the lettuce is about twice the cost of garden-variety sandwich filler found in Japanese supermarkets.

That's actually really impressive. For something with that much tech investment/cost I would expect prices like vodka with a pound of gemstones in the bottle, pineapples flown in from the space station, or Prince Charles's organic sheep's milk fed only from the Prince's asshairs.

Keep R&Ding this and it could be economically viable.
 
2014-05-15 08:16:30 PM  
This is an interesting idea, if nothing else.  It makes me wonder if it might be possible to purpose some of those abandoned buildings in Detroit to indoor agriculture like this.  Probably wouldn't be any better than doing any kind of normal farming.  But hell... it would be doing something with them.
 
2014-05-15 08:18:21 PM  
The other portion of this that I  always wonder about is "Does this setup grow well enough to produce robust, viable seed?"
 
2014-05-15 08:21:35 PM  
8e8460c4912582c4e519-11fcbfd88ed5b90cfb46edba899033c9.r65.cf1.rackcdn.com
/oblig
 
2014-05-15 08:23:14 PM  
I think if a doctor told me I'd never be able to eat lettuce again, I wouldn't be that disappointed.
 
2014-05-15 08:26:55 PM  

Fark like a Barsoomian: Keep R&Ding this and it could be economically viable.


They're trying to do the old vertical farms concept I've been doing since 2008.

Now let's see if they can do 3,000 pounds of food a day in a 60x20 building with those crummy fluorescent lights.

/betting on no.
 
2014-05-15 08:28:54 PM  

meat0918: The other portion of this that I  always wonder about is "Does this setup grow well enough to produce robust, viable seed?"


It's not meant to, but yes, it can be done.

Noishkel: It makes me wonder if it might be possible to purpose some of those abandoned buildings in Detroit to indoor agriculture like this.


Ten or so of those large buildings, managed properly, could feed most of Detroit with ease.
 
2014-05-15 08:29:06 PM  
i.imgur.com
 
2014-05-15 08:39:10 PM  

Noishkel: This is an interesting idea, if nothing else.  It makes me wonder if it might be possible to purpose some of those abandoned buildings in Detroit to indoor agriculture like this.  Probably wouldn't be any better than doing any kind of normal farming.  But hell... it would be doing something with them.


We can engineer the entire growing and harvesting process with a minimum of space and resources.. do it all with hydroponics to meter the amount of nutrients required for vigerous growth, LED matrix lighting to manipulate the light spectrum and routines to manage bloom rates, ratio's and chlorophyll production.

we can turn a perennial into a annual and pluck several THOUSAND fruit from a single plant

All that and we haven't even gotten into any GMO political nonsense..


But.. it all tastes bland and boring and the only reason you do it is to produce a commercial high yield, rapid turn around crop.

so.. to get around to answering your question...


Yes

 it is .. possible to do that..  now.. can you make it turn a profit?
 
2014-05-15 08:42:34 PM  

Plant Rights Activist: idk man, 1 white mana creature removal is tough to beat.


Maybe they will actually make the 3rd UN-set.

/when he'll freezes over
 
2014-05-15 08:44:15 PM  
A food and agricultural cloud platform, meanwhile, was used to decide on the best atmospheric conditions such as temperature and humidity as well as fertilizer levels to achieve an optimum crop.

In other words, "some hipsters talked about agriculture on a web forum"

/farking jargon makes me want to blow up a Palo Alto Starbucks.
 
2014-05-15 08:45:38 PM  

khyberkitsune: meat0918: The other portion of this that I  always wonder about is "Does this setup grow well enough to produce robust, viable seed?"

It's not meant to, but yes, it can be done.


Ok, then are there special hydroponic setups that specifically grow seed, or do they grow the seed stock in the ground?
 
2014-05-15 08:49:26 PM  

meat0918: khyberkitsune: meat0918: The other portion of this that I  always wonder about is "Does this setup grow well enough to produce robust, viable seed?"

It's not meant to, but yes, it can be done.

Ok, then are there special hydroponic setups that specifically grow seed, or do they grow the seed stock in the ground?


...transition to weed thread in 5...4...3...2...
 
2014-05-15 08:56:34 PM  

FeatheredSun: A food and agricultural cloud platform, meanwhile, was used to decide on the best atmospheric conditions such as temperature and humidity as well as fertilizer levels to achieve an optimum crop.

In other words, "some hipsters talked about agriculture on a web forum"

/farking jargon makes me want to blow up a Palo Alto Starbucks.


No kidding. Automating a greenhouse is likely to be such a computationally undemanding application, a Commodore 64 would probably be twiddling its thumbs out of boredom most of the time.
 
2014-05-15 08:57:54 PM  

meat0918: khyberkitsune: meat0918: The other portion of this that I  always wonder about is "Does this setup grow well enough to produce robust, viable seed?"

It's not meant to, but yes, it can be done.

Ok, then are there special hydroponic setups that specifically grow seed, or do they grow the seed stock in the ground?


probably, but I harvest seed from the best examples of the fruit of my crop weather it be dirt  grown or hydro grown..

and I'm  talking squash and melon.. I don't bother with that roadside weed that is fast becoming a national nightmare.

I've grown lots of things, in several different ways, and I always find that a watermelon vine, grown in good compost in natural light produces the best, and sweetest fruit.. the same cultivator grown hydro and under lamps tastes like water. . I'll grow delicate leafy greens hydro over winter, and stick to a sustainable program for veggies in the garden during the spring, summer, to fall
 
2014-05-15 09:00:33 PM  

ChiliBoots: FeatheredSun: A food and agricultural cloud platform, meanwhile, was used to decide on the best atmospheric conditions such as temperature and humidity as well as fertilizer levels to achieve an optimum crop.

In other words, "some hipsters talked about agriculture on a web forum"

/farking jargon makes me want to blow up a Palo Alto Starbucks.

No kidding. Automating a greenhouse is likely to be such a computationally undemanding application, a Commodore 64 would probably be twiddling its thumbs out of boredom most of the time.


put the water on a timer, the temp is regulated by a bi-metal spring attached to a vent window on the green house.
A C-64 would be too much trouble to try to bring in all the I/O and program the routine.
 
2014-05-15 09:07:00 PM  

Cerebral Knievel: I've grown lots of things, in several different ways, and I always find that a watermelon vine, grown in good compost in natural light produces the best, and sweetest fruit.. the same cultivator grown hydro and under lamps tastes like water.


To be fair, most people don't have a clue how to grow sweet fruit in a hydro system. The Japanese have it down pretty well. The trick? Higher levels of micronutrients and a consistently higher PPM for nutrients in the reservoir.

meat0918: Ok, then are there special hydroponic setups that specifically grow seed, or do they grow the seed stock in the ground?


Yep, there are setups. All it takes is more vertical space. If we wanted to, we could do hydroponic corn. Not that it'd be any more viable as a crop that way than it is now.

FeatheredSun: ...transition to weed thread in 5...4...3...2...


Pot is one of the easiest things to get to produce seed. We don't even need to go there.
 
2014-05-15 09:10:48 PM  

Cerebral Knievel: A C-64 would be too much trouble to try to bring in all the I/O and program the routine.


Well, gotta monitor and adjust the nutrient levels on the fly. Might need something like a C-64.
 
2014-05-15 09:17:15 PM  
Len Drexler?
 
2014-05-15 09:24:20 PM  
Rabbert Klein
 
2014-05-15 09:25:36 PM  
holy crap. i'm low in potassium and allergic to lettuce. this idea sounds horrible.
 
2014-05-15 10:10:54 PM  

khyberkitsune: Cerebral Knievel: A C-64 would be too much trouble to try to bring in all the I/O and program the routine.

Well, gotta monitor and adjust the nutrient levels on the fly. Might need something like a C-64.


I hear ya, but a Raspberry Pi type of micro computer would be more versatile,, direct-able, cheaper,  and some asshole out there on the internet has probably already done all the dirty work for you. An Arduino board could certainly do it. as well..

I am also understanding that you are using the C-64 as an example of the computing power actually required to micro-manage the system..  but you need more than the brain, you need the sensors, how to deal with the data, and then how to implement what is necessary according to the data in the real world.. you could have the thing send you a tweet that zone 4-6 needs more nitro, so you gotta get off yer ass and do it, OR, it could discover that zone 4-C needs more nitro and then opens up a valve on a reservoir of dissolved blood meal and a starts op a pulsatile pump to deliver the nutrients to the flow stream using the same sensor that was used to determine the need to see it the need was met. These sensors usually use elecrical resistance sensors to estimate the PH levels of the water with certain profiles of electrical resistance to determain what is generally going on.

I don't know about you..
 
2014-05-15 10:17:01 PM  

Cerebral Knievel: I don't know about you..


I do it all myself, right down to building the building.

And I don't know about you, but bloodmeal as-is makes for a horrible nitrogen source in a hydroponics system unless it's been pre-brewed and processed by microbes.
 
2014-05-15 10:19:43 PM  
Those who beat their chips into lettuce often end up processing salad for...

... I got nothing.
 
2014-05-15 10:24:00 PM  

Cerebral Knievel: A C-64 would be too much trouble to try to bring in all the I/O and program the routine.


Also, you hit the damn power switch when plugging in the joystick.
Why the hell do they need to be right next to each other?
 
2014-05-15 10:57:15 PM  

Cerebral Knievel: it is .. possible to do that.. now.. can you make it turn a profit?


Well I'd argue that it would only produce tasteless crap.  With a proper system you can actually produce all sorts of quality food.  Not just a variety of vegetables but also chicken and fish protein.

HOWEVER you did hit on what will be the killer.  Doing all this at a cost that makes it worth it.  Well that and I imagine government would try to get in on it to either make all the money they can or just try to regulate the hell out of it.
 
2014-05-15 11:06:04 PM  

star_topology: [8e8460c4912582c4e519-11fcbfd88ed5b90cfb46edba899033c9.r65.cf1.rackcd n .com image 226x311]
/oblig


You know, I've always wondered which is better: that or Path to Exile.

/could be an apples-to-oranges comparison, though
 
2014-05-15 11:09:58 PM  

Cerebral Knievel: it is .. possible to do that.. now.. can you make it turn a profit?


http://gardenpool.org/ 

I think these people have a pretty decent idea of a good way to make something like this work.  But there's still probably no good way to make it work economically.  Power needs alone would be a real problem.
 
2014-05-15 11:30:16 PM  

Plant Rights Activist: idk man, 1 white mana creature removal is tough to beat.


Oh man. I was hoping to find a picture of this, but your comment is even better. Thank you.
 
2014-05-15 11:32:57 PM  

Noishkel: Cerebral Knievel: it is .. possible to do that.. now.. can you make it turn a profit?

http://gardenpool.org/ 

I think these people have a pretty decent idea of a good way to make something like this work.  But there's still probably no good way to make it work economically.  Power needs alone would be a real problem.

 

I think the bigger problem is the proposed large scale versions in urban settings.  Land can be prohibitively expensive in the city.  Water is also expensive, you mentioned power.
 
2014-05-15 11:57:39 PM  

meat0918: Water is also expensive, you mentioned power.


Water's not so much of a factor. With a properly-managed system you'd need at best 1%-30% the amount of water you'd typically need. Power is the larger issue, here. That 60x20 building I'm working on will need 15kW of LED. At roughly 25% efficiency, I'd have enough space for solar to cover that minus the batteries and charge controllers and inverters. Probably enough leftover to run the dual AC units, as well.
 
2014-05-16 12:09:53 AM  

khyberkitsune: meat0918: Water is also expensive, you mentioned power.

Water's not so much of a factor. With a properly-managed system you'd need at best 1%-30% the amount of water you'd typically need. Power is the larger issue, here. That 60x20 building I'm working on will need 15kW of LED. At roughly 25% efficiency, I'd have enough space for solar to cover that minus the batteries and charge controllers and inverters. Probably enough leftover to run the dual AC units, as well.


Ok.

I thought of the biggest problem, for Americans at least.  Changing this.

westernmeats.ca

To this

uhaweb.hartford.edu


And I admit, I don't want to change too much.  I love eating meat, even though I have cut back on meat consumption a bit, subbing in other protein sources like beans and eggs from my chickens

//I realize you also grow fodder for the animals.
 
2014-05-16 02:02:14 AM  
Well, if you wanted to change it, tons of TVP alternatives available that are pretty damned good facsimiles!

And you don't even need light for the fodder. Just solar power for the AC and hydro pumps. Very low power, very low water. That's one of those 1% crops I mentioned. You can truly reduce your water consumption by 99% compared to outdoor, and produce as much in 1/8 acre as you can in one with a modest sized building.
 
2014-05-16 03:05:02 AM  

meat0918: I think the bigger problem is the proposed large scale versions in urban settings. Land can be prohibitively expensive in the city. Water is also expensive, you mentioned power.


Very true.  Doing something like this in, say, Manhattan is just not going to happen.  But some cites have pretty run down areas.  Might be able to 'sell' an idea like this in Detroit.

Of course given Detroit current nature you'd probably have to take a page New Vegas and get guy with rifles to keep from touching it or something.

khyberkitsune: Water's not so much of a factor. With a properly-managed system you'd need at best 1%-30% the amount of water you'd typically need. Power is the larger issue, here. That 60x20 building I'm working on will need 15kW of LED. At roughly 25% efficiency, I'd have enough space for solar to cover that minus the batteries and charge controllers and inverters. Probably enough leftover to run the dual AC units, as well.


Very true.  While there's some things you can cobble together or beg borrow or steal it's still going to be expensive.  Solar is... just too expensive for ATM.  Not for large scale.  Not yet.

There's also the issue of heating in the winter.  Taking the Detroit example you'll have to expend a lot of energy to heat it in the colder season.  Of course you COULD produce your own energy using locally produced alcohol.  But then that gets the ATF involved if you have to make the stuff in quantity.
 
2014-05-16 10:39:44 AM  

Noishkel: Taking the Detroit example you'll have to expend a lot of energy to heat it in the colder season.


Even with LED lighting, all that light would do a perfectly fine job of heating the place up during the winter.
 
2014-05-16 02:18:59 PM  

khyberkitsune: Noishkel: Taking the Detroit example you'll have to expend a lot of energy to heat it in the colder season.

Even with LED lighting, all that light would do a perfectly fine job of heating the place up during the winter.


Well it's true that LED lights do generate a little heat I don't think they're enough to be useful for heat.  Again, not in really cold areas.  Not unless you're will to insulate the hell out of a place.
 
2014-05-16 07:34:53 PM  

Noishkel: khyberkitsune: Noishkel: Taking the Detroit example you'll have to expend a lot of energy to heat it in the colder season.

Even with LED lighting, all that light would do a perfectly fine job of heating the place up during the winter.

Well it's true that LED lights do generate a little heat I don't think they're enough to be useful for heat.  Again, not in really cold areas.  Not unless you're will to insulate the hell out of a place.

they actually generate a lot of heat. Even at the best efficiencies, the 15kW of power used for the lighting will effectively generate 8-9kW of heat. In a 60x20 space, that's a fair bit of heat to deal with. That's why we've got dual AC units, one to deal with the LED heat, one to handle the rest of the atmospherics.
 
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