Filter articles by:
Date published
Article keywords
Article type

UC grad’s invention helps gardens grow

Vanessa Lam

2 November 2017: A University of Canberra alumnus has created an automated gardening system that provides 24-hour protection and monitoring of your garden.

GardenSpace is a solar powered unit with a motion-sensing 360-view camera that monitors garden process and plant health. The product takes care of the watering and also protects your garden from unwanted pests.

“Essentially, we automate the monotonous tasks involved in growing food from home and allow people to enjoy the craft part of it, planting and harvesting the best produce you’ll ever taste. All you have to do is connect it to your water supply and your Wi-fi and download the GardenSpace app to get a virtual view of your garden, ” inventor James Deamer explains.

“The GardenSpace unit can keep an eye on 100 square feet, which is enough to grow up to $700 worth of produce a year.”

Mr Deamer completed a Bachelor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in 2014 and said he enjoyed his time at the University of Canberra.

“I met two of the most influential people in my life through mentoring and other opportunities through my degree,” he said. “The networks you can make at university are amazing.”

The idea for GardenSpace came to Mr Deamer while he was attending a human nutrition class.

“I learnt about our food systems, our behaviours and our relationships with food,” he said. “Then I began looking at ways that people could make lasting changes with their food. It eventually boiled down to growing food at home - but it can be hard,” he said.

The GardenSpace unit began as a smart planter box with soil and moisture probes that would email you when it needed more water.  From there, the concept grew with Mr Deamer and his co-founders taking GardenSpace to the HAX hardware accelerator program in Shenzhen, China earlier this year.

They were just the second Australian team to be selected for a competitive four-month intensive hardware accelerator program, where they received a backing of $100,000.

“The HAX program was amazing,” Mr Deamer said. “It helps develop companies that are at different stages, across many different industries and gives them a lot of help,” the 26-year-old said.

“We were able to develop a new version of our product every week. We went from a minimalistic prototype and we ran through more than five product iterations. We designed, developed, sourced parts, 3D printed casings, built new components and completed units in under a week. We got to prototype and test the hardware we’re using with the speed and scale of Chinese manufacturing behind us.”

Mr Deamer hopes GardenSpace will help time-stressed gardeners or encourage others to take up the hobby.

“There’s a growing demand for food and the most fertile soils we have is where we live.  We’ve got all this free space in our suburbs and cities but nobody has time to water plants or keep watch on their garden anymore,” he said.

“We’re building all these smart homes where everything’s connected and food is just next extension of that.  My hope is that in a few years’ time you’re going to wake up go out to your garden and there’s going to be a GardenSpace there that’s helping you grow this awesome food,” he said.

Mr Deamer launched GardenSpace on KickStarter last month and have already surpassed their goal of raising $25,000 by December, with units available for purchase from $239.