As marijuana quickly edges forward through the threshold of acceptance in society, technology is not far behind to fulfill the demand for people who want to grow their own.
Enter onto the scene, Grobo. This sleekly designed indoor growing system could revolutionize the way ‘everyday folks’ around the world grow marijuana. Oh yeah, it can also grow fruits and veggies, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Grobo is an indoor, self-contained hydroponics system; you plant the seeds, and this state-of-the-art device will check the status of your crops so often, you’d think it has OCD. It will automatically adjust water and light levels, temperature and anything else your buds need to grow. It does this with little to no involvement on behalf of humans, which any gardener who has tended a crop will tell you is unheard of.
Grobo’s headquarters are based in one of the technological hubs of North America, Kitchener/Waterloo, near the Weedmaps head office in Canada (a total coincidence). Marijuana.com caught up with Bjorn Dawson, Grobo’s CEO and Co-founder, to discuss just what his product can do.
Grobo started as an idea that was conceived at the University of Waterloo and nursed through their ‘Velocity’ incubator program. Dawson received a Mechanical Engineering degree from UW.
“I started [Grobo] officially two and a half years ago. The idea came about three and a half years ago when I started to grow some food outside. I just fell in love with the taste.” He said that it became difficult to garden because of Canadian winters (which will be filed as the understatement of the year).
Dawson then started to grow indoors so he could have fresh food year round and that sparked the idea for a technological solution to his grocery problem. He built a makeshift tech greenhouse for himself. “It was a hobby project, nothing like what we’ve developed today, but a very simple version of that.”
Dawson and the team shortly after, started by designing something that was a small countertop system as they wanted it to have mass appeal by not taking up too much space. They also wanted to take the work for the grower, out of the equation. “For me, I’m not passionate about the gardening. The end result is what I love. That’s the key and [the end product]is better than anything you can buy at a grocery store in terms of taste and environmental impact.”
Grobo plans to ship anywhere in the US and Europe at this time and due to growing interest they will be shipping worldwide in the future. They are asking for customers to pre-order now and expect the first units to ship in April 2017.
When Grobo was in its early design phase, Dawson and his team had no intention entering the cannabis space. “When we started, all the legal and political landscapes were different and we weren’t as connected in the cannabis space.” Moving into the marijuana industry was a natural transition he added, as many marijuana patients were coming to them in confidence after learning of the product and saying how great it looked and how they wanted one.
“We were at the Lift Cannabis Expo and one of the most powerful people who came up to us was a mother who said that one of her children has epilepsy and they grow.” The mother added that it was difficult to talk to anyone about cannabis in a positive light when you are using a grow tent, so a product like this normalizes something that she desperately needs for her child.
Grobo has experimented and used their product to cultivate some top-quality Mary-Jane, and as expected, it worked out very nicely. They have a medical marijuana patient on staff who grows and tests for the company.
Grobo can also bring a significant yield to the table. “It depends on the strain of course but [growers]can expect a good two ounces per cycle.” Each cycle is two to three months depending on the strain.
No doubt products like Grobo will continue to push technological boundaries so marijuana can be grown at home for anyone who wants to take the time. And with these convenient devices, it looks like the time needed just got a lot shorter.