Vertical farming is need of the hour, not just for the space-savvy aspect of it, also for the future it beholds. Talking about the future, there is one thing that is evident –vertical farms are going to be connected. They will be controllable from a distance and of course modular and personalized to user requirements. In line with the vision is Planty Cube, an automated vertical farm developed by South Korean agriculture and IoT startup n.thing.
Planty Cube was recently seen at CES 2020 in Vegas amid other futuristic vertical gardening alternatives. Similar to a shipping container in appearance, the 40-foot smart hydroponic farm container is winner of CES Best Innovation Award in the Smart City category.
On the inside, it has rows and shelves of planters stacked up on all walls featuring multiple capsules called Pickcells that contain seeds of each plant. Pickcells measure approximately two inches each in length, width and height.
The smart vertical farm has a reliable, computer-controlled environment wherein thirteen crop cycles of high-quality vegetation can be grown annually. Crops are grown in an auto-monitored hydroponic environment without soil, so the yield is unaffected from the outside world and is pesticide-free and clean – ready to eat even without washing.
The seeds are sown in Pickcells, which use sensors connected to a computerized system to collect data on the plants. Through the proprietary Cube OS, plant health can be monitored and humidity, temperature and LED lighting for photosynthesis, adjusted to requirement. The farm can even be remotely controlled using a smartphone.
Planty Cube is first of its type modular vertical farm that offers possibility of scalability and efficiency in cultivation. With the Cube, anyone can start vertical farming – at home or as a business – and increase the size of the farm (container) as the cultivation increases.
Automated small-scale Planty Cubes have already been installed in a few places including the Hyundai Department Store in Gangdong-gu in Seoul, where it is providing fresh vegetables to a restaurant.