Heliponix LLC, doing enterprise as Anu™ (beforehand gropod®), has been awarded a Part II Nationwide Science Basis Small Enterprise Innovation Analysis (SBIR) grant for $970,993 and $75,000 in matching funding from Elevate Ventures.
Anu will proceed its analysis and growth work on multispectral photomorphogenesis that’s now being deployed together with deep-learning, computer-vision algorithms inside its novel rotary aeroponic cultivation chambers. It was beforehand awarded an NSF SBIR Part I grant of $256,000, as well as to $50,000 in matching funding from Elevate Ventures. A web-based video exhibits the expertise in use.
Anu was established six years in the past by two undergraduate college students on the Purdue Polytechnic Institute who had been working on a NASA-funded analysis examine at Purdue College. The analysis sought to optimize the photosynthetic effectivity of rising lettuce in a controlled-environment hydroponic chamber for astronauts to develop crops extra effectively in area. By manipulating the spectrum of LED gentle on the lettuce crops, the analysis group, led by Cary Mitchell, a professor of horticulture on the Faculty of Agriculture, noticed a rise in yields whereas concurrently lowering the system’s vitality consumption.
Analysis group members Scott Massey and Ivan Ball, co-founders of Anu, noticed a chance to additional improve yields and decrease vitality consumption. Their revolutionary design known as the Rotary Aeroponic™ Cultivation Chamber, which has a number of patents pending, produces increased yields by its novel mechanical design coupled with a novel management algorithm facilitated by proprietary cloud software program.
“Through decentralized, in-home production of produce, the wasteful inefficiencies and environmental destruction attributed to industrialized agriculture are eliminated while simultaneously delivering maximum freshness, flavor, and nutritional value directly to consumers conveniently,” stated Anu CEO Massey. “Produce is harvested when consumers are hungry rather than everything being harvested at the same time, which requires preservation of the produce. It simply stays alive and fresh until it’s eaten. The Anu team is now composed of more than 20 team members and continues to grow rapidly.”
Massey stated the Part I SBIR grant from the NSF supported Anu’s “light recipe” analysis to maximize plant development yields, dietary content material, and vitality effectivity inside the proprietary Rotary Aeroponic Cultivation Chambers.
“We are now deploying those discoveries into our Phase II deep-learning, computer-vision system to commercialize an autonomous cultivation system for consumers to sustainably eliminate their dependency on grocery stores for eligible produce varieties without preexisting horticultural knowledge required,” Massey stated. “Our ‘Keurig for plants’ commercialization strategy empowers consumers to grow their own Pure Produce® that is more food safe, free of any pesticides and/or preservatives, and has much less environmental impact than industrial agriculture. This accomplishment is a giant leap forward as this century’s Victory Gardens will unite to become the world’s largest farm without owning a single acre of land.”
As a chief in tunable horticultural analysis lighting programs, the Lighting Enabled Techniques and Functions (LESA) Heart of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has and continues to work with Anu to present research-grade, multispectral, tunable LED modules and related programmable management programs appropriate with Heliponix’s rotary chamber. These modules are based mostly on the LESA Heart’s TIGER horticulture analysis lighting modules and can present the analysis flexibility wanted in Part II to optimize the LED illumination impression on plant development variables in leafy greens, together with biomass, crop yield, dietary content material, and vitality effectivity.
“NSF is proud to support the technology of the future by thinking beyond incremental developments and funding the most creative, impactful ideas across all markets and areas of science and engineering,” stated Andrea Belz, division director of the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF. “With the support of our research funds, any deep technology startup or small business can guide basic science into meaningful solutions that address tremendous needs.”
As soon as a small enterprise is awarded a Part II SBIR/STTR grant of up to $1 million, it turns into eligible to obtain up to $500,000 in extra matching funds with qualifying third-party funding or gross sales.