As one of the most commonly used ingredients in cooking, basil has an important role in our lives. However, it’s hard to grow basil these days. While most of us might grow some basil at home simply by leaving it on the windowsill and letting it get some sunlight and water, we no longer need to.
Humanity is slowly being replaced by technology, and the latest example comes in the form of technologically driven agriculture.
Now, basil dishes are going to be created by machine-learning hydroponic solutions. This will not only help to reduce manpower needs for basil growing, but also optimize and develop the flavor of the basil further.
The aim of this program, over at the MIT Media Lab and the University of Texas at Austin, was to help improve automation of farming practices that we need to survive. The aim was to try and find out if a growing environment would be able to deliver a growing strategy that delivers a highly powered basil that comes with richer, stronger and more developed tastes.
To do that, a whole host of changes were needed to make it possible. For one, they decided to adjust things like the watering frequency, lighting volume and the soil type. This helped them to come up with a model that allowed for the best output. As the equipment makes the decision on behalf of the basil itself, the plant is always getting what is the best for its needs.
According to Caleb Harper of MIT, this process is very important. He said: “We’re really interested in building networked tools that can take a plant’s experience, its phenotype, the set of stresses it encounters, and its genetics, and digitize that to allow us to understand the plant-environment interaction,”
How does this work?
By adjusting the lighting that was allowed to get to the plants, this helped to improve the depth, strength, and concentration of the flavor. The results of the testing were quite surprising, too. For example, they found that one of the major suggestions was to undergo 24/7 lighting on the plants, using UV light.
This was the recommendation of the machine learning system which came forward through the extensive analysis carried out.
Despite going against general knowledge of how basil likes to grow, the researchers gave it a go. They found that it was actually going to deliver a much more immersive, satisfying flavor – massively so, in fact. They also found that it really did manage to produce double – or close to double – the flavor of a plant grown in a more controlled environment.
This is very interesting and shows a unique breakthrough in the agricultural industry. If our computers continue to come up with such intelligence solutions to help improve agriculture, this can only be a good thing.
Not only could we start growing more food, but we could improve food taste simply by modifying the growing process in a natural manner. It’s a very exciting time for agriculture, that’s for sure!