@Pabu01 I can't tell if you're just trolling or if you actually want an answer. I'd prefer to take the positive view, so I'll assume your intentions are good and that you're genuinely curious and puzzled.
I didn't tell the whole story when I said I want to eat salad--that's true, but there's more. According to your account profile, you haven't spent much time reading posts here on the forums, so I'm not surprised that you don't understand my perspective. I'll try to explain.
I believe the discussions and software development on the OpenAg forums have the potential to become more productive and beneficial as people gain experience actually growing food. The baseline level of knowledge in the OpenAg community is unbalanced relative to Caleb's stated vision. I see this in what I read on the forum, and I feel it as my weak botany background limits my progress in writing software. I want the situation to improve, so I'm working to educate myself. Just like with my other guides and howto posts, my intent in this post is to offer a suggestion for other people who want to improve their knowledge.
The Long Version
Part 1: Building a stronger community
From what I see, this community is strong on computing and engineering experience and weak on indoor growing experience--some people are knowledgable, but that's the exception rather than the rule. By working to improve that balance, we can do better and more relevant work. If you read through the forum history, you can see that people with lots of growing experience sometimes show up here wanting to talk about hydroponics, but it seems like they tend to get frustrated and leave. That's unfortunate--our loss.
People seem to hear Caleb talk and come away with the idea that food computers will save the world, but what he's actually saying is much more nuanced. The v2 personal food computer is just a DIY climate control chamber with an automated nutrient dosing system. Both of those technologies have been around commercially for a long time. Sure, DIY is fun, but funded researchers can just go buy the real thing.
The vision Caleb talks about is large and inspiring: As a community, how can we address the problem of aging farmers and the loss of agricultural expertise as they die? How can we compensate for the loss of fertile farmland due to pollution and climate change? How can we improve the nutritional content and flavor of food? How can we reduce food waste? How can we encourage young people of various cultural backgrounds to see farming as a viable, interesting career choice? There are a lot of opportunities there.
MIT has the money and labs to do formal research with expensive equipment, and it makes sense for them to do that. But, the idea of a community project to build a crowdsourced distributed research platform with food computers all over the world is problematic. Sure, it would help researchers who want to analyze the dataset. But, where would people get the money to build those food computers? Is it even ethical to encourage people to spend their money in that way? Personally, that second question troubles me. On the other hand, if we reduced the cost of participation by an order of magnitude, then a crowdsourced research network might be reasonable.
The big opportunity for making relevant, meaningful contributions on the community side of OpenAg--that's us--is to help make hydroponics and indoor farming more accessible. The vast majority of people on the planet don't have thousands of spare dollars for spending on hobby projects, so accessible inherently means cheap. But, cheap equipment isn't helpful without knowledge of how to use it--accessible also means having educational curriculum. The Raspberry Pi Foundation is an excellent example of doing this well in the context of computer education.
I see growing microgreens as comparable to learning to write a Hello World program on a Raspberry Pi, but building a v2 food computer is more like writing your own Lisp interpreter. Both are valid things to do, but one is much more accessible and relevant for beginners.
Part 2: My software project
At a more technical and personal level. I'm in the early stages of a software project that I hope will further these goals:
- Help people learn the basics of hydroponics and indoor farming so they are better prepared to contribute to community projects.
- Explore ways of building image based datasets that could be used for measuring phenotype expression with computer vision and AI algorithms.
To work on the software, I just need to be able to grow plants simply under semi-repeatable conditions with a camera pointed at them and some basic environmental sensing. Microgreens seem like a good fit for a cheap plant to watch with my camera, and I can eat them too. If you care about the conceptual motivation behind my project, you can learn more by reading this, this, and this.