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!