The concept of smart gardens is no more in distant now. Yash Vyas, the founder of Agro2o, a start-up of smart garden talked to BE’s Kuntala Sarkar sharing the basic technologies and ideas behind it.
Q. Share the basic concepts of smart gardens?
A. Agro2o is a tech-enabled urban farm company with the vision of bringing the experience of growing own food to the millions of people across the globe by changing the way how plants are grown.
We are building software and hardware integrated IoT solution which automates the complete process of growing plants hydroponically so that anybody can enjoy the experience of growing plants anywhere. Agro2o is offering advanced soil-less solutions with prospective application ranging from smart home gardens to commercial hydroponics.
Q. How does the Agro2o smart garden automated device work?
A. Our first offering is smart garden for urban homes. The plug-and-play solution makes it possible for everyone to experience of growing freshest, healthiest and chemical-free herbs, veggies, flowers, medicinal plants automatically in the comfort of their home using soil-less technology.
Because it is an IoT-enabled product, it requires little human attention daily. The microcontroller-based system can intelligently judge and provide the level of light, water, and nutrients required, and create an ideal growing condition for the plant.
All one has to do is insert a nutrient cartridge depending on the plant one wants to grow. The smart garden is also enabled with a touch screen and WiFi connectivity. It sends out alerts to users whenever the water has to be topped up.
Q. What are the major technologies including IoT that Agro2o has adopted for smart garden?
A. Smart garden uses patented tech-enabled soil-less technology for growing plants using sensors and intelligent growth algorithms with intelligent nutrient dosing and Grow light with the required spectrum for photosynthesis.
Q. Please give a brief idea about the Hydroponics technology and how does it work for a smart garden?
A. We have successfully grown different types of herbs and edibles using smart hydroponics technology which can be leveraged to grow plants at home, buildings, even for large scale farms. We aim to revolutionise the way plants are grown starting with our first offering ‘Renaissance’, a successful example of Make in India model.
Further, smart hydroponics is clean and sustainable solution with proven capability of using 90% less water scope of 200-300 times of productivity from same land usage and limiting the use of pesticide and harmful chemicals. We are working towards progressive solutions for prevalent inefficiencies in terms of water and land usage for commercial application as well.
Q. What can one grow in the smart garden?
A. Gardening as we all know is very therapeutic but for many of us who live in metros gardening seems like a distant dream. However, with Agro2o’s smart garden one can grow herbs, veggies, greens and ornamentals without space or even knowledge being a constraint. When it comes to herbs one can grow basil, thyme, oregano and rosemary. As for vegetables one can grow lettuce, spinach, arugula, bell peppers and chillies.
Besides this over 50 different plants can be grown including marigolds and petunias. So one can grow own veggies, herbs and beautiful flowers as well. This is the gift that keeps on giving for one’s physical, emotional and mental health.
Q. How people are responding to smart gardens?
A. With the onset of IOT (Internet of Things) and 5G adoption, the home of the future is likely to be highly automated. Our innovative solutions are progressive step in this direction; it will aid the people’s modern lifestyle and will allow them to connect back to the nature mitigating the contemporary constraints in terms of space, time and knowledge.
Q. How will the smart garden impact on the ecosystem?
A. With the climate change looming over us and pollution creeping in from air, food and water, sooner or later we will have to take control of things in order to preserve this beautiful planet of ours. Our focus is on using sustainable and eco-friendly technology to ensure optimum use of resources to help people grow plants organically using smart hydroponics.
Soil-less is one of the fastest-growing agriculture technologies in the world. In the US, EU & Singapore, Soil-less has become part of the lifestyle through portable home kits were better known as smart indoor gardening system which allow people to grow plants in a limited space using the technology. In India, hydroponics space is a fairly nascent stage, where companies are offering commercial solutions for farm owners. However, none are offering portable smart indoor gardening systems allowing anyone to conveniently grow plants at home using this advanced technology.
We are at the heart of a social, cultural and environmental change. We want to contribute in a means to shape the future, which is fresh, green and organic.
Q. When did you establish the start-up and how did the government help you on this course?
A. We started Agro2o in 2018 and done did extensive R&D on hydroponics in Indian conditions and technology development. We were supported by Electropreneur Park (an initiative by Ministry of Electronics and IT) and Delhi University and Software Technology Parks of India (STPI). We have devised this technology that uses water and non-GMO seeds in an automated system.
It took us more than two years of plant science and electronics research and several iterations to develop the product.