Weed Vision: Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Cannabis Grow HousesAugmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence are changing the world as we know it, even in the cannabis industry.
Augmented reality (AR) became a hot topic buzzword of the tech community when Pokémon Go was launched in 2016, generating 50 million downloads in 19 days and hitting over $1.2 billion in total revenue. Since then, we've seen AR woven into the fabric of our daily lives from Snapchat's Lenses Studio to 3D e-commerce and retail platforms. As AR becomes a smashing success with the public, more interest is placed on ways to integrate its features into emerging technologies — in particular, cannabis agriculture.
Imagine a future where cannabis farmers walk through rows of plants wearing augmented reality glasses. As they wander through the grow house, the headsets display what type of strain they're looking at, how long until the plant is ready to harvest and the features of an optimal environment. Overhead cameras watch for signs of disease, pests and water needs. If the system detects a visual anomaly, the grower is alerted, and diagnosis is provided to help isolate the problem before it spreads. If that sounds too far off, think again. Thanks to augmented reality and artificial intelligence, similar systems will soon become a reality for cannabis growers.
The beautiful part is anyone will be able to become a modern, master-farmer with the help of these technologies.
Some farms, not just in the cannabis sector, already make use of technology like data-collecting drones and apps for optimized irrigation, but none of these methods help enhance the farmer's abilities while, at the same time, allowing them to work alongside intelligent machines.
Huxley may be the perfect example of such a system. This hands-free technology combines augmented reality and artificial intelligence operating system and platform for cannabis growing. Using a headset, environment sensors, and cameras, this smart grow system is capable of building data for the growth process of thousands of cannabis plants.
Through their augmented reality interface, farmers can monitor their crops from afar — much like having a bionic set of eyes — and respond to issues at the moment. This enhances the farmer's abilities, creating a format that allows more growth with as little effort as possible. The developer, Ryan Hooks, plans to partner with universities and researchers to build the database.
Think of Snaphash as the weed doctor for your phone. It's both a mobile application and a hardware product that aids a phone's existing camera in taking magnified macro images of cannabis plants. The app features are designed to take growers through the essential elements of set up to final stages of harvest. Its scheduling feature reminds growers when to water and feed crops. Farmers can then use the platform to share photos of problematic plants with a community of growers — much like Instagram — to diagnose what caused the issue. Data collected from user submissions continue to get smarter with each harvest.
This platform also allows farmers to scan potential grow locations and utilized augmented reality to analyze a grow site while providing the suggested optimal placement and set up to match the space.
Think of Motorleaf as a high-tech crystal ball that can predict the future of greenhouse operations. Initially designed for the agriculture sector, this artificial intelligence startup uses data-driven machine-based learning to provide indoor farms with a comprehensive list of insights from predicting disease to potential yield.
By monitoring, factors like lighting, irrigation, temperature and humidity, Motorleaf collects and transmits data about the environmental conditions of a grow house. The software enables growers to view data in a practical, simple format, highlighting what's working and what factors need to change. Another significant upside to this technology is the ability to identify pests and risk early on, to reduce waste and crop failure.
Motorleaf focuses on how to most effectively and efficiently grow crops. Calculations and predictions that would have been impossible for the human brain become less complicated through the help of a virtual agronomist, a mix of sensor data, and machine vision via HD webcams.
The Future of Grow Houses
As more cannabis operations begin to leverage augmented reality and machine learning, the level of intelligence will only increase with each harvest, and it won't be long until the world's greatest experts on growing aren't humans. Platforms like Huxley and Motorleaf could serve as research and development for an automated future, where AI-guided machines browse greenhouses, harvest product, and nip diseases in the bud. Until then, "plant vision" appears to be the next boon for the cannabis industry, training master-farmers, aiding reduced labor and boosting efficiency.