Bitponics Offers A Cloud-Managed Hydroponic Grow Op Anyone Can Operate

Kickstarter-funded Bitponics was showing off its finished product at TechCrunch Disrupt NY’s Hardware Alley today in New York, which is shipping out to backers in the next few weeks according to company cofounder Michael Zick Doherty. The Bitponics system is a cloud-based hydroponic garden manager, complete with a web-based dashboard that’s accessible anywhere and can control every aspect crucial to the process, like the pH of the soil, temperature, light and moisture level.

The Kickstarter project from the Brooklyn-based company managed to pass its $20,000 goal back in June of last year, as people seemed drawn to the idea of a platform that takes a lot of the guesswork out of setting up and managing a hydroponic garden. It’s designed to be dead-simple, with guides for how much sun, water and nutrition your plants need. It collects data via sensors that plug into a base, which connects to your local Wi-Fi network, and then logs data in a dashboard and can send you notices when things aren’t going exactly as they should. The base has two power outlets built in which feature timers that allow you to set schedules for components like lights and pumps.

“I was working for a company called Windows Farms doing the hydroponic systems, who do the growing and the plumbing and all those aspects of it,” Doherty said of how Bitponics came up with the idea. “My issue with hydroponics is that there are a lot of things that you have to know well to be able to grow well, and there’s a lot of time put into monitoring the conditions of the plans.”

bitponicsAs a hardware and software platform startup, I asked what the biggest challenges Bitponics has faced in terms of actually delivering a product. Doherty said that there were challenges with manufacturing and getting that right, but that the biggest challenge was making sure the entire process was engineered correctly in terms of user experience, so that literally anyone could pick it up and use it, and grow things well.

“Probably the biggest challenge was figuring out a user flow that was something that anyone could do,” he said. “Building something that someone who had never tried hydroponics, or someone who had never touched a computer would be able to just follow these instructions and get running in a reasonable amount of time, that was a huge challenge.”

Bitponics is going to start shipping to the general public once it gets all of its backer systems out to Kickstarter supporters, when it’ll be available for $499 for the base station, with service available on a recurring subscription basis. If you’re looking for a way to manage your in-home herb or cannabis farm even when you’re away on business, this could be one to check out.