"Maker Tales” is an ongoing series on knowable, where we highlight outstanding Makers and their projects.
Maker Tales: Micro Experimental Growing (MEG) - the indoor greenhouse – 8.4.2014, by kryobot
Hi Carlo, great to have you here! Can you tell us a bit more about your background?
I’m part of Yradia, an innovation agency dedicated to Lighting Design. Our background is in industrial design engineering with strong skills in lighting technologies. MEG - our indoor greenhouse - is a self-innovation project combining our skills (industrial and lighting design), and our passions (IoT, growing, open knowledge).
Yes, and MEG is currently knowable’s „Project of the Week“! Can youTell us more about it? How did you come up with the an open-source greenhouse? What fascinated you about the idea?
From Wikipedia: “Photosynthetically active radiation, often abbreviated PAR, designates the spectral range (wave band) of solar radiation from 400 to 700 nanometers that photosynthetic organisms are able to use in the process of photosynthesis. This spectral region corresponds more or less with the range of light visible to the human eye. “
Actually we started from a research on optimizing a photometric spectrum to maximize a targeted Photosynthetic Active Radiation - scary huh?
Some interesting tech details can be found in our third Kickstarter update. After that we started adding functions, investigated the usability, and thought about the whole experience of self-growing. It has been a smooth, natural process so far!
Haha, yes - “Photosynthetic Active Radiation” does indeed sound scary! Can you tell us a bit more about your main challenges so far? How did you go from prototype to Kickstater?
The main challenge for us is being… heard. We do not have the power of a communication agency neither have budget to afford a proper one. But we’re not afraid. From prototype to Kickstarter, the path was quite smooth: after bootstrapping some several thousand Euros from our other activities, we felt that we needed crowdfunding support.
The main challenge for us is being heard.
You have to consider that MEG is a complex and delicate project, involving design, engineering, implementation and development of parts in the following fields: photometrics, mechanical and industrial design, electrical design, PCB design, GUI and UX design, as well as several Arduino-related applications.
If your Kickstarter succeeds, what is the road ahead? What will be your next steps?
First step will be fulfilling our backers rewards. In parallel, we’ll then have enough resources to finalize the Source Documents and to (hopefully) invest in the Online Platform. From then on, well… maybe is just too early to talk eight now.
In the light of crowd funding and open-source business models – how do you see the Hardware and Maker scene in general evolve in the future?
In my opinion there is a big shift in implementation power and decision making going on right now. I’m talking both money-wise and about manufacturing capabilities.
It’s sort of like when we shifted from asking people for directions to always having our personal GPS ready. We can finally fully control our paths.
If people want to learn more - where do they find you?
We are really responsive with interesting questions and people. Drop us a line at email@example.com or reach out on Facebook. And we have a Twitter feed, too!
Thank you for your time!