20131017082204-grow_plants_in_water_indiegogo

Sustainable Microfarms Hydroponics Genesis Controller

We provide people with sustainable access to healthy, high-quality food. Now you can use 90% less water & 70% less plant food to grow your own fruits & veggies!


Feed Your Plants the Perfect 

Meal While You're Away.


The Genesis Controller is the first in a family of products designed to make hydroponic farming easy, inexpensive, and fun for everyone!

It is a system designed to automatically measure and regulate the nutrient levels and pH levels of your hydroponic reservoir. 


What is hydroponic farming?
Hydroponic farming is a method for growing plants without using soil. Instead, plant roots are submerged in water containing all the nutrients they need to grow.

It is VERY important that the water supply for a hydroponic garden contain exactly the right combination of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, and other micronutrients. It is also very important that the growing environment is not too acidic or too basic.


How exactly does the Genesis Controller work?
The Genesis Controller monitors the nutrient level and acidity level of a hydroponic reservoir using built-in sensors. When a nutrient level or pH dips below the ideal range for growing, the Genesis automatically adjusts the water supply until the system is back on track.

Never again will you need a chemistry degree to start growing hydroponically!

For more technical details on the Genesis, please see the FAQ below.


What if I don't already have a hydroponic garden?
The Genesis is only one part of a hydroponic growing system. If you're new to hydroponics, you should check out our Grow Pro level. You'll receive everything you need to start growing right away!

Otherwise, check out our Nanofarms. They are the perfect introduction to soil-less farming -- great for in-the-office, the kitchen counter, or a child's room!


We need your help!  

Our team at Sustainable Microfarms has been developing the Genesis Controller for over two years and is finally ready to begin our first major production run.  With your support we can make sustainable farming available to the whole world!  We have several pledge levels available, each one has it’s own unique level of awesome: 

Frequently Asked Questions:

What type of system does this product work for?

The Genesis Controller is applicable to Circulating systems, Drain-to-Waste systems, Ebb & Flow systems, and any other hydroponic growing system using a centralized reservoir.

If you have a specific question about whether the Genesis Controller is right for your system, please contact us! We’d be happy to answer any questions you have.

How do you set it up?

When you receive the Genesis Controller, you’ll also receive a full installation how-to guide.  The basics are:

1.  Plug it in! Any standard two-prong wall outlet will work

2.  Input the size of your water reservoir

3.  Tell it which nutrients are connected to which pumps

4.  Input your desired concentration of each nutrient

5.  Tell it how often to take readings and adjust the reservoir

6.  Step back and watch your plants grow!

What nutrients can the Genesis Controller dose?

It’s up to you! The Genesis’s built-in computer is completely customizable, so the Genesis Controller can dose any combination of nutrients you like. We designed the Genesis Controller in conjunction with General Hydroponics so we highly recommend their Flora Series Line


What sensors come built into the Genesis Controller?

The Genesis Controller contains two probes. One measures pH, or how acidic/basic a water solution is. The other is an Electrical Conductivity (EC) sensor to measure ionic concentration and temperature of the water in your reservoir.


How often does the Genesis measure pH and Nutrient levels?

It’s up to you! When you set up the Genesis Controller, you tell the machine how often to take readings. We suggest every 10-15 minutes at a minimum to allow the nutrients time to fully mix in the reservoir before the sensors take their next set of readings.

Can plug my own probes into system?

At this time, the Genesis does not support the use of other sensors. But if you have sensors already on hand, don’t throw them out! They can be used to provide a secondary confirmation that your reservoir is properly regulated. 

When will the Genesis Controller be available?

We are excited to begin production of the Genesis Controller as soon as we have reached our funding goal!

When will the product ship?

Our goal is to start moving units out as early as January 1st, 2014

What about the other greenhouse variables like temperature, humidity, lighting and CO2?

We recognize there are a variety of other variables that need to be looked into for a constant high quality and low resource requirement sustainable farming system. Our long term goal is to make a platform of products to ensure quality, affordable, automated greenhouses. Stay tuned for more products coming soon!

What should I do if my yields go through the roof?

Please send us your success story and we would love to feature you on our blog and in our materials.

Has Sustainable Microfarms participated in any competitions?

Yes!  We were semi-finalists at FLoW First Look West 2013 at Caltech, Hong Kong PolyU Global Innovation Challenge 2013, and USC's Masseeh Engineering Entrepreneurship Competition.  We were finalists in the Yum! Brands Global Sustainability Challenge in 2012.

Please send us any and all questions you have that weren't answered here!


About Us

Who is Sustainable Microfarms?

The Sustainable Microfarms team is a group of forward-thinking individuals ranging from current UCLA and USC graduate students to trailer manufacturers for moving produce around the United States.  Our team is primarily focused on control systems with backgrounds in physics, electrical engineering, astronautical engineering, mechatronics, and chemical & nanotechnology engineering. 

Through diverse projects in undergraduate and graduate research we have gained skills in product manufacturing, manufacturing & design as well as project management and risk analysis needed to bring a platform of controls to market for anyone and everyone to embrace sustainable farming. 



Sanjay Kumar Rajpoot: has been actively involved in humanitarian work since he was 8 years old as is currently the only person ever to graduate from USC with combined degrees in Physics, Chemical Engineering, and Nanotechnology.  Sanjay came up with the idea for the Genesis Controller while still in college.

Eric Ellestad: Our chief evangelist. Eric is a passionate advocate for sustainable farming and is responsible for helping forge relations with existing industry partners as well as opportunities to help out all over the world.

Christopher Kang: Created the first mechanical designs for the genesis controller. Chris is a PhD in controls and systems at UCLA and makes everything from medical surgical robots to industrial process controls.

Emin Vartanians: Circuits and satellites specialist.  Emin made the first production spec Genesis Controller and is responsible for all of the designs for controller boards that are going out to our users.


How far are we in development?


We’ve hand made many units of our Genesis controller for testing and development but now we are ready to share this technology with everyone.

Over the past 2.5 years we have talked to everyone from the USDA and the US Department of Energy to YUM! Brands (parent company of Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, KFC, A&W, and Long John Silver's) and garnered awesome support for our vision of bringing sustainable agriculture to everyone by making it easier and affordable. 


Sustainable Microfarms is proud to collaborate with Non-Profit Organizations

Part of Sustainable Microfarms' purpose is to change the world using sustainable agriculture.  We recognize that the people who need our products the most may not be able to afford them without our help.   In an attempt to improve as many lives as possible we collaborate with a number of non-profit organizations. 

One such organization is the Molina Center, a non-profit promoting urban farming in Colorado.  The Molina Center is committed to serving young mothers at risk of homelessness, whole families, and the general public. Sustainable Microfarms is partnering with the Molina Center who will be offering Sustainable Microfarms products as part of their reward structure on their Indygogo page.  (Check out the Molina Center's live project at http://bit.ly/molinacenter).  

We are also working with the non-profit Hydro For Hunger who's mission is to raise awareness about global food shortages and the issues surrounding world hunger.  Hydro For Hunger has been helping people around the world since 2002 and has raised over $250,000 for their cause to date.  

We have also progressed into the second stage of approval with US Aid.  By contributing to this Indygogo campaign you are doing your part to not only further the adoption of sustainable agriculture but also making a direct impact in the lives of real people in need.


Who made our video?

Our video was created by Matt Stone.  Contact at mattstonevideo@gmail.com

Special Thanks

Pegasus Capital Advisers

Dr. Heiner Lieth

Dr. Myrna Jacobson

Dr. Andrea Armani

Scott Duffy

Pascal Finette

Santosh Kumar

UC Davis

Department of Energy FLoW

USC Viterbi School of Engineering

UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering

California Institute of Technology

bit.ly/smicrofarms_twitter

bit.ly/smicrofarms_facebook

bit.ly/smicrofarms_youtube


Risks and challenges

Manufacturing

Making everything come together in the manufacturing supply chain to actually build and deliver a product is a difficult and non-trivial task. We know that we can make our campaign successful because we have been partnering with our suppliers and using their products to build our units for over a year and have visited the manufacturing plants all over to ensure that our units are of the utmost high quality and testing standards. We are thankful to have these partners and would not be confident in our ability to deliver product without their help.


Interested in learning more about hydroponics?  




Team on This Campaign: