Food cultivation is fundamental to human society and technological development. This multimedia installation looks at the possible next steps. Can a robot distinguish between weeds and nutritional plants? And how do you go about coding an algorithm that gives each plant what it needs?
Algorithmic Gardening presents a trio of experiments involving the soybean. Soy is a big subject in discussions about our food chain: there’s controversy about genetic modification, but soy could also contribute to solving the worsening problem of food scarcity. Algorithmic gardeners play a part in every step on the journey from bean to garden to plate. The beans grow in “soybots,” mobile mini-gardens that maneuver their way around the space in search of a perfectly sunny spot to grow. Weeds are meticulously removed by a Taurus robot, whose algorithm-driven robot arms were first developed to defuse bombs. The resulting soy snacks literally roll off the conveyor belt. Is this our culinary future?