Dallas’s Flux Farms Brings A.I., Sensor to Hydroponic Farming
Dallas—Flux Farms likens the company’s technology to the brain of a smart farm.
Eddy, the name of Flux Farms’ software technology, is made up of a robotic sensor as well as artificial intelligence that can monitor the water and nutrient levels of crops like tomatoes or lettuce, and then either trigger an automatic feeder or send farmers a notification that they need to adjust water or nutrient levels. The agtech startup’s system is designed to be used in hydroponic-style farms used in arid regions or in urban areas.
“The goal is to turn an average Joe farmer into an expert through the application of AI,” says Flux Farms’s CEO Blake Burris.
In addition to providing individualized advice for each farmer, Burris says Flux Farms is creating a community of farmers and experts who can share gardening tips or recipes. “Most of us aren’t green thumbs,” he says. “We can give users an idea of what type of plants to plant depending on your location.”
Flux Farms is launching pilot projects that include a refugee camp in Jordan, farms in South Africa, and a Massachusetts development that calls itself the “first hydroponic-based indoor urban park.” Burris says the startup is also planning an Indiegogo campaign in the fall to sell its smart farming device for $150 each.
Flux Farms’s technology has its origins in the Israeli military, where it was used in bomb sniffing and security applications. Israel, which does not have much water, is also a leading country in hydroponic and aquaponic farming, types of farming that use 90 percent less water than typical farming operations.
Flux Farms’ three founders are Israelis whom Burris met a few years ago in Tel Aviv. As they talked, they decided to set up Flux Farms’ U.S. headquarters in Dallas, where Burris had worked for startups such as Vinli, a connected car company, and cleantech firm Dynamo Labs.
As the company works through its pilot projects, Burris says he is also eyeing another market that depends on efficient farming practices: cannabis. “Our product has a natural affinity for that grower market,” he says.