Update from OpenAg - Please Read


Hello nerdfarmers!

We’ve been keeping up with conversations on the forum, and wanted to give the community a quick update on research, since you may have noticed the OpenAg team at the Media Lab has been in “listening mode” on the forum since releasing our PFC updates (v2.1) in Fall 2017.

We’ve been listening to your feedback as you build, hack, troubleshoot and improve on the versions of the PFC that are out there. Many of you have expressed the desire to make the PFC less expensive, easier to build, to make PFC parts available for purchase, and would like upgraded (and/or backwards compatible) software.

Taking the lessons learned from our community and from the user research being done here at the lab, we’re in the process of pivoting the OpenAg PFC design to meet these needs, build the Open Phenome library, and develop a better toolset for a broader community with a spectrum of skill levels and resources. Our research on the PFC v2.1 has paused, and while the build resources for PFC v1.0, v2.0, and v2.1 remain available on our wiki page and GitHub, MIT OpenAg can’t currently support community members’ individual builds of the early versions.

We do want to consider a reuse/refurbish research project later in the year that could make older PFCs backwards-compatible to our new tech. We also want to acknowledge that several folks have spent time, resources, and made progress on these earlier versions of the PFC, and we want your help.

If you have created or purchased components for the PFC v.1, v.2, or v.2.1, can you let us know? Tell us all about it here.

In the meantime, thanks for your patience as the MIT OpenAg team balances our scientific research goals with our desire to help the community thrive. You’ll find us nose-down in the lab, and occasionally commenting here when we have some research to share. Our role in the community has always been to provide a shared space for nerdfarmers to collaborate with one another, to support and encourage you all with our research in Food Computers as we complete it, and advance the mission and vision of the lab.

We are fortunate to have such a robust, dynamic, and supportive forum that has been incredible in offering assistance to new and veteran nerdfarmers. We have to send a special thank you to Will Snook, Peter Webb, Howard Webb and so many others for being such rockstars contributors, mentors, and technical wizards. You folks are top notch!

You can expect a Medium post from Caleb by the end of the month with more details about our research on PFCs, Food Servers and more of what’s to come in 2018. We are working with the nascent OpenAg Foundation on engaging and supporting our community, and brought on board a community manager – Max Diamond. Please join us in welcoming him to the OpenAg ecosystem. Max will be posting on the forum as @OpenAgFoundation.

Thanks for reading, and for all your support!


Need more information about Nutrient Solution
Getting the software up and running
I am creating a wiring schematic diagram for the PFC v2
Calling all Educators! Who's using Food Computers in schools?
Openag_brain_installer - file INSTALL cannot find
Openag_lib.config module not found
Help needed with Loading the default fixture
Food Server in Guadalajara, by MIT Enterprise Forum Mexico
Do PFCs dehumidify air?
OpenAG in South Africa
Signal Board for PFC v.2
Herald Business(Korea media) wants to cover PFC!
OpenAg in Panama!
Choosing Between PFCv2.1 and MVP
Floating Platforms for FoodServers
How to start gro-ui
pinned globally #2


Hi I can’t access the form https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd6UDIJKbYq-LOPOTddIMNqpUrH4OZX3i3BH2kfzo63JwJXTA/formrestricted its restricted…


Thanks for the heads up @JMarkling. The mistake has been corrected.


@OpenAg I’m looking forward to Caleb’s post on Medium later this week. It will be good to learn more about what’s been going on lately at MIT.

In particular, I’m hoping to get ideas about what options are available to people who have seen the TED talk, interviews, or whatever, and want to build a food computer. As it stands, there’s a potent and highly visible marketing funnel in place that’s encouraging people to go build food computers–but it isn’t practical for them to actually do that. Right now, I feel like the best advice I can give people about the PFC v1.0-v2.1 designs is that it’s better not to attempt new builds. I wish I had something more to offer them.

From what I’ve seen of your new in-progress designs–the pfc-edu, nervous system, light controller, etc.–it looks like you’re making significant progress on the hardware. I’m particularly interested in the potential for experimenting with tuneable spectrum lighting. Perhaps shifting towards an emphasis on light recipes could be a more affordable option compared to designs that require expensive actuators for refrigeration and dosing. I’m curious if you are thinking along those lines.

It will be great to hear about your vision and roadmap for where OpenAg is headed.


Great to see this update, I have been following the project from the beginning and have a personalised hardware setup based on the v2. Since the software and sensor updates I have been unable to change the code to use my sensors. Have followed the, ’ tell us all about it ’ link and answered the questionairre. Looking forward to upcoming posts on where the project is heading…


@openag or @Caleb Could you say a few words about where things are at with OpenAg? I totally understand if stuff is crazy and it hasn’t been possible to write up the Medium post that you were hoping for–no big deal. That said, even a paragraph or two about what’s going on and where things are headed would be a big help.


@openag or @Caleb What’s next :-)? Would be nice to keep working together as a community.


@Caleb, I don’t know if you’ll see this. But, I’d like to say a public thanks for your recent hazelnut computer LED array pictures on twitter and instagram.

By comparing your pictures with CAD files and documentation from github, I feel like I’ve got a better idea of where things are headed with your team at MIT.


For anybody curious about the new pfc-edu design, Caleb has posted a couple pictures of the enclosure:

I’m not 100% certain about this, but I think the pictures are prototypes of the design files on github here:


Eagerly waiting to join with you all in experiencing food computer. After listening to a few TED talks Of Mr. Caleb Harper, just can’t wait to have one in my classroom.


Hi There

Im from South Africa, currently building food computer v2.1. Im struggling to get guides on the brain assembly as well as the assembly of the other hardware components.Please advise me on where i could find this.