The two most common types of constructive criticism we’ve received from the beta launch of AutoNanoFarm are about the price and the aesthetics. It’s an interesting pair of criticisms, because at low volumes, these two factors compete with each other. Reusing off-the-shelf components that are already manufactured at high volumes for other purposes helps keep the cost down, but doesn’t allow for the most attractive design. At high volumes however, a custom design for AutoNanoFarm can be inexpensive.
We have the nagging feeling that forcing off-the-shelf components such as an aquarium, a custom stand, and plastic containers as vegetable beds together into an elegant system is not the best way to go about it. There has to be a better way to create a system that accomplishes the same goals, but in a sleeker and more elegant package. After all, aside from its practical value as a small garden, and its educational value as an introduction to aquaponics, AutoNanoFarm is also meant to take a spot in your home as a conversation piece.
This thought would not leave us alone, so finally, we decided to do something about it. We were inspired by the elegance ofJellyFishArt aquariums, and wanted to create something similarly sleek. Also, the nautilus spiral kept returning to mind, and this is what we came up with:
In our preliminary design, the tank would hold about 20 gallons of water when reasonably full. the pump would be hidden in the top wooden spiral, and a misting system (aeroponics, to be technical) would deliver the water to the plants before returning back to the aquarium.
What are your thoughts on this idea? Here are a few tradeoffs compared to the current AutoNanoFarm:
- Manufacturing development time will take a bit longer.
- There is currently only a 4 inch (10 cm) depth for the roots. This will not be ideal for plants with deeper root systems such as tomatoes, peppers, etc.
- The aeroponic system will take some time to develop; it’s not something that we’ve empirically proven out ourselves (though it does seem rather straightforward).
Let us know what you think via your reply. As always, we look forward to hearing from you!