Advanced technology solutions, like artificial intelligence and machine learning, are changing the world right before our eyes. Factor in the Internet of Things, or IoT technology, and suddenly we have refrigerators that remind us we’re out of milk because it noticed the geo-location of our smartphone is somewhere near the grocery store.
In the same fashion, technology is also changing the way we grow cannabis. While companies like UrbanGro and BrainGrid provide high-end, data-driven solutions for commercial cannabis operations, another company out of California is hoping to bring advanced technology within reach of home growers, too. CannabisTech had an opportunity to speak with Salma Mayorquin, co-founder of KindBot.io about their tiny device which puts AI tech in the palm of your hand, and at a price, anyone can afford.
AI for Home Growers
In commercial grow operations, the plants have an entire staff of individuals and a master grower with years of experience watching over them around the clock. Home growers, on the other hand, can’t afford the luxury of expert staff to attend to their plants.
Realizing a need in the consumer market and in an effort to improve their own plants, Mayorquin and her partner, Terry Rodriguez, decided to put their Berkley education and tech background to work. As Mayorquin handled the hardware and the front end user experience, Rodriguez focused on the data and artificial intelligence. “The project took on a life of its own, really,” Mayorquin stated as she spoke about the early development of KindBot.
Thanks to their efforts, today for just $225, home growers can now afford the advanced technology to help improve the quality of their crops.
How KindBot Works
“Basically, the KindBot is a tiny computer with a tiny camera and environmental sensors,” Mayorquin explained. Whether growing in a tent, a grow closet, or greenhouse anyone can use KindBot to automate specific processes.
After setting up the KindBot where it can see the majority of the plants, the grower pairs smart plugs to the device using the mobile app which allows customized lighting and irrigation schedules, as well as, precise temperature control. As an environmental controller, KindBot controls the smart plugs for appliances such as lights, air conditioning unit, irrigation systems and more.
Using the customized settings, the device monitors the conditions in the grow, watching for anomalies, and triggering countermeasures. For example, if the temperature rises above the preset range, the KindBot triggers the smart plug on the AC unit. Likewise, if the camera detects drooping leaves, it might trigger a watering event.
Rather than use the older algorithm of PID temperature control, KindBot uses reinforcement learning to gamify temperature control. Explaining how it works, Mayorquin stated, “Kindbot plays a game where the objective is to get as many points as possible. It earns the most points by staying close to your ideal temperature set point. If Kindbot lets the temperature fall out of the range, it loses points proportional to the error. After playing a few games, Kindbot learns how to control the AC unit to maintain the temperature at the set point. Kindbot basically learns to associate information like the time of day, recent environmental data to a decision – turn on/off device.”
“The results,” she continued, “are a near flatline in temperature readings.”
Expert Monitoring 24/7
Acting as an intelligent watchdog per se, if the device detects a change in the plant, it triggers the necessary response to keep conditions inside the grow stable. Plus, utilizing the camera, the software uses visual AI to detect more advanced issues in plant health as well.
In fact, the AI technology behind the KindBot is so advanced; it can look at plant structure to provide highly accurate plant diagnosis to detect features such as yellowing leaves, toxicity, and pests. “We’re helping growers diagnose issues in advance to mitigate problems and provide expert opinions,” Mayorquin said.
Get Advice from Buddy
Even without owning the hardware, growers can use the AI built into the KindBot by simply uploading a photo for Buddy to analyze. Like having a master grower on speed-dial, Buddy is a plant diagnosis engine which uses machine learning to evaluate an image and return suggestions and links for diagnosis and treatment.
You can try Buddy today by downloading the smartphone app or visiting Buddy online here.
The team at KindBot just launched their crowdfunding site and are accepting pre-orders for the device now. To learn more about the technology, to try out Buddy, or learn more the company visit their website at KindBot.io.