FERMENTABOT! the fermented food computer


Hi there. I’m Arielle, OpenAg’s flavor nerd. I’m using the PFC and Brain Box designs to make a food computer to control fermentations. The $165, “dumb” proof of concept version is here and the ongoing updates to the prototype, which uses the brain box design, is here .

I’ll post some climate recipes for fermentation here as we make them. Use this thread to talk about fermentation control, actation, sensing, recipes, etc.


Sounds awesome. We have developed a sensor and brain system that can also be applied to making kumbucha and brewing beer. What kind of fermentations are you talking about? Pickles?


hi Eddy! the current set-up is best suited to solid and semi-solid state fermentations (because the container shape would make liquid fermentations pretty sloshy) or liquid fermentations inside smaller vessels. The best-suited fermentations are ones where temperature and humidity play a big role in determining microbial populations and fermentation rate, and at temperatures around room temperature or higher. It’s best-suited to:
Lactic acid bacteria fermentations of vegetables (sauerkraut, kimchi, cucumber pickles, umeboshi, tsukemono)
Mold-based fermentations of grains (koji)
Koji+legume fermentations (miso, soy sauce)
dairy (yogurt, creme fraiche, cheese)

ideally would have a container redesign for wine, beer, vinegar, kombucha


Is there any plan to develop a kit for this? I wasn’t sure if perhaps down the road companies like Fenome would build and sell these? If not would OpenAg be welcoming of someone who took this design, improved it, kept it open source but created a company selling them?

I ask not because I want to do that, but because as people look for their “niche” in the community perhaps this is an unmet need that I think has real potential.

My second question is can this bot be used for dairy free milk? I know one would need to possess the required ingredients, but I’m curious if that is one of the goals of this eventually. I am brand new to fermentation (and only recently heard about dairy free milk), so pardon me if this question is naive or out of place. If nothing else I would appreciate your opinion on products like http://www.perfectdayfoods.com/ and whether you think this sort of a device could be modified to produce dairy-free milk.

Lastly, your first link to the proof of concept is returning a 404 error.

Thanks for starting this great project,

Edit: I just realized this would make for a GREAT germination chamber also.


@Webb.Peter great ideas. As always everyone in the community is encouraged to make a product offering of open source openag hardware, software, etc. B


Hi Peter-

As far as I know Fenome doesn’t currently have plans to develop a fermentabot kit but if they do I’ll let everyone know here.

At first I thought you meant Nut Milks (and I guess you could use this for that but really you just need a good blender). But for artificial milk made with transgenic casein, I guess you’re talking about growing the yeast that produce the casein? You could definitely do cell culture in a modified version of the fermentabot—you’d probably want to add some way to dose nutrients and better control of gases (like CO2 addition). Bt the biggest hurdle would probably be getting the modified yeast in the first place. If you’re trying to do DIY genetic modification you’ll need a lot more equipment than the fermentabot :slight_smile:

MVP - Future of Process

The fermentation area of the wiki is here: https://wiki.openag.media.mit.edu/fermentation

an ongoing, fairly unedited log of development of fermentation climate recipe development is here: https://wiki.openag.media.mit.edu/fermentation_2017


Thanks for the updates @arielle I really appreciate these posts as well as any others about the research you are doing, know that they get read! I’m definitely not trying to do any genetic manipulation myself, was more curious what the inputs were that might create barriers (thanks for answering).