democratizing science

Personal Food Computer EDU

The OpenAg™ Personal Food Computer is a tabletop-sized, controlled environment agriculture technology platform that uses robotic systems to control and monitor climate, energy, and plant growth inside of a specialized growing chamber.

The “PFC_EDU” is the latest version of an open source Food Computer™, created by the MIT Open Agriculture Initiative and designed with and for educators working in formal and informal education (e.g. libraries, schools, museums).

The new Personal Food Computer v3.0 - “PFC_EDU” (2018).

Climate variables such as carbon dioxide, air temperature, humidity, dissolved oxygen, potential hydrogen, electrical conductivity, and root-zone temperature are among the many conditions that can be controlled and monitored within the growing chamber to yield various phenotypic expressions in the plants.

The “brain board” of the new PFC_EDU, where the sensors and microcontrollers are housed.

A collection of PFC_EDUs running their climate recipes.

Our latest version—the PFC v3.0, or “PFC_EDU”—has been scaled down from previous PFC’s in terms of cost, size, and complexity, and designed specifically with educators and children aged 8-14 in mind. It offers a spectrum of control so that users can make their growing experience as manual or as automated as they would like. By introducing PFC_EDUs into the education context, including in schools and museums, we hope to inspire and empower the high-tech farmers of the future.

A group of high school students who helped prototype some of the earliest versions of the PFC_EDU.

Students assemble a PFC_EDU for their classroom.

Like all of OpenAg’s Food Computers, the PFC_EDU is open source and can be made from easily accessible components so that #nerdfarmers with a broad spectrum of skills, resources, and interests can build, modify, share, and upgrade over time.

Build your own PFC_EDU

The PFC_EDU assembly.

An assembled PFC_EDU.