A group of Taranaki students who have created their own mini automated greenhouse have been given funding to produce their idea on a bigger scale.
Inglewood High School's Robogrow project is one of seven given funding as part of the Curious Minds community science programme, which is led by Venture Taranaki and funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
The electronic system can sense when the plants inside the greenhouse need air, water, light and heat and the machine, which sits on top, acts accordingly by watering the plants, turning light bulbs on the machine and even opening up an air vent on the greenhouse.
The students built the system and programmed it over the last term, but will spend the first two terms of next year researching how to make it bigger and if it is a sustainable product for future generations to use.
“Obviously in the future something like this on a massive scale in a building makes more sense to meet the food needs of the city than to ship everything in.
“We want to research if it's feasible for the average person at home to grow some lettuce and that sort of thing,” he said.
It costs $2000 for the greenhouse kits from Sminks Lab in Auckland.