In MAKE Volume 18, we published Luke Iseman’s Garduino project. I was always fond of the project because I wanted to find ways to monitor water and light in a greenhouse. In truth, the project was a bit crude. Now Luke, who I met through Maker Faire Austin and has since moved from Austin, TX to San Francisco, has a Kickstarter project to develop an upgrade to Garduino called Growerbot. Growerbot is “way more user friendly,” says Luke.

Photo of Growerbot by Luke Iseman

Growerbot is described on Kickstarter as a “social gardening assistant.” Its new features include:

  • a built-in-display, enclosure, and everything else you’d expect from an actual product
  • better sensors: collecting data on specific parts of the light spectrum, accurate humidity, etc.
  • wifi streaming of plant data.

Luke’s eventual goal for Growerbot, he says, is “to gamify gardening.” “Growerbot will help you grow food in the real world while entertaining your virtual friends with updates from your garden,” he writes on his Kickstarter page. He’s got two backers at $880 for whom he promises to supply “Growerbot Pro.” With 39 backers so far, he’s already exceeded his $5,000 goal with 4 days left.

I’m not sure gardening needs gamification. What I’d like is affordable technology for monitoring and control of gardens and small scale farms that also connects them to the Internet.