Apitronics is an exciting start-up of Farm Hacker Louis Thiery, originally birthed from a Farm Hack NH greenhouse monitoring project. The Apitronics Kickstarter is live, and it’s great! You can pre-order Apitronics monitoring “bees” and help Louis get off the ground at the same time. He’s already a quarter of the way to his funding goal – help out a fellow Farm Hacker and get a useful new farm gadget!
About the Platform
Apitronics is a wireless platform designed for the outdoors. It includes a base station, or “Hive”, that coordinates a swarm of field-ready “Bees” which collect data and control switches.
What a Bee does depends on what sensors or switches you attach to its waterproof plug. Apitronics will be releasing more plugs as the platform matures. At one site, they are already doing some chicken coop monitoring, with a door sensor and a water level sensor. The system can send alerts if you forget to close the door or to bring water to the chickens!
Through the Kickstarter, Apitronics is offering user-ready systems with Bees connected to weather stations or soil humidity sensors. Louis also hopes that other developers will build off the platform and that a diverse ecology of products and other solutions will be built around the open architecture. By bringing open-source to farm electronics, Apitronics hopes to see more innovative solutions that are more farmer-driven.
More about the project at the Apitronics website
Visit the Kickstarter here
You likely have heard of Kiva.org, a micro-lending site that lends to the entrepreneurial projects of individuals in developing countries through crowdsourced financing.
A year-old project of Kiva is Kiva Zip, which flips the tables. Through Kiva Zip, individuals in the United States (and Kenya) can apply for an interest-free loan up to $5,000 for their project. This tool could be great for farmer-entrepreneurs with a well-developed innovation idea that want to market their innovation to others, and that need startup capital to bring this project online.
One Farm Hacker has already used Kiva Zip to do this – Louis Thiery, co-developer of the FIDO greenhouse monitor, applied for and received a $5000 loan through the service to produce 100 initial units of the Fido monitor. This loan allowed him to build the original FIDO unit, and also develop a second improved iteration, now called the Sentinel Bee, through his new business Apitronics.
To receive a Kiva zip loan, you must apply through a Kiva Zip Trustee, whom you can locate on the site. You also need to prove your business plan is viable, and be vouched for.
If you are applying for a loan, let us know at info [at] farm hack [dot] net, and we can vouch for your project! Once you are approved, your project is then posted to the site, where users (hopefully) crowd fund your project. The great thing about the Farm Hack community is that we can use our network to get out the word about projects, and ensure they get fully funded. Use that farm hack community capital!
Find more info about Kiva Zip on their website.
As Farm Hackers Louis, RJ and Ben work on the Wireless Greenhouse Monitor project, which is powered by an open-source Arduino circuit board, we have come across yet another great use for the Arduino on the farm:
Check out this Instructable for an programmable, self-locking chicken coop door, whose Arduino microcontroller tells the unit under what conditions to open and close the coop. It’s just one of many possibilities for open source electronics project on the farm.