A Vancouver-based startup, AVA Technologies Inc., announced Tuesday that it has developed the first indoor smart garden, which uses artificial intelligence to grow food.
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“We are making this an actual ‘smart’ garden. You can connect it to the Internet to record time lapses through an HD camera and it is fully automated to make it the most hassle-free and hand-free garden yet,” Chase Ando, imagineer and co-founder of AVA Technologies, tells FOX Business.
The device, called AVA Byte, is also compatible with Amazon’s (AMZN) Alexa, Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL) Home, which allows sensors to monitor the environment and accelerate plant development making them grow three-times faster than conventional gardening.
“The way we like to describe it is a ‘Nespresso’ for gardening,” Valerie Song, CEO and co-founder of AVA Technologies, tells FOX Business. “[The] plant growing device helps you light and water your plants and then you have plants pods that have everything that a plant needs to grow, from non-GMO seeds to a growth material as well as a plant food to last the entire life cycle of the plant.”
AVA Byte can grow herbs, microgreens, leafy greens and mushrooms using LED lighting and hydroponics, which uses 90% less water and 80% less space than traditional soil gardens.
Other startups have emerged in recent years using the same technology. Last year, FOX Business reported on Gotham Greens, one of the pioneers behind the first commercial hydroponic greenhouse that now produces over 20 million heads of lettuce and leafy greens to big retailers like Amazon and Whole Foods (WFM).
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The concept is also catching the eye of big investors like Goldman Sachs (GS) and Prudential Financial (PRU), who announced in 2015 that they have partnered with Aerofarms to build the world’s largest vertical farm using hydroponics.
AVA Technologies says while their company is private and self-funded, they do plan to open a seed round in upcoming months. Their device is currently being crowdfunded on Indiegogo for $169, but they say the product may end up on retailers’ shelves sooner than expected.
“I won’t announce them publicly until it’s signed on paper but we’ve had more than eight distributor requests over the last two weeks,” Song says.
Additionally, the company plans to take new capital to scale up its device so that it can feed larger groups.
“Our mission is to feed the world’s transition to sustainable food and we have approached this from both a production and consumption side. So, we are starting with AVA Byte, but we are going to scale up to the MEGA Byte and the GIGA Byte soon,” Song added.