Soil, light and a bit of AI: This hydroponic setup is fully automated

Shivendra Singh’s Barton Breeze offers AI-enabled vertical indoor farm set-ups with automated controls for temperature, watering systems, even light and ventilation. Singh started Barton Breeze in Dubai, where he said he realised the need was great. He expanded operations to India in 2017 and is now offering home kits for urban farmers too. This agrotech company is using technology powered by artificial intelligence (AI) to grow 38 fruits, flowers and vegetables — lilies and roses, melons and tomatoes — with minimal human intervention. 

“When you can control each of the conditions required for a particular plant — temperature, humidity, nutrition, amount and type of light — you can grow almost anything anywhere,” says Shivendra Singh, 33, founder and CEO of Barton Breeze. When it comes to the use of AI in hydroponics, Singh says there is plenty of information available. “But what works for the US or Netherlands might not be good for India in terms of system design. As ambient parameters vary, you have to tweak the machinery,” he says. 

The company has helped grow herbs and bell peppers in humid regions of Kolkata and Goa, spinach in the heat of Ahmedabad, and is now piloting a project to grow leafy vegetables in Ladakh, he adds.

Everything on Barton Breeze farms is automated, down to the lighting and ventilations systems, which switch themselves on and off. This enables larger yields in shorter periods of time, Singh says. “Lettuce traditionally grows in 60 days. In our system, it takes about 40 days. You set up a system to sow, transplant and harvest yield every day.”

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