As we head into 2021 facing a number of dire existential threats --and climate change, to name a few -- one of humanity's encroaching issues is population rise.
How on earth (literally) are we going to feed all these people?
Traditional farming methods could be problematic in the long term. It's not just an issue of space but a problem of sustainability. We're damaging our environment with current farming techniques -- and eradicating existing species and their habitats to the point where many are calling it the sixth extinction event.
In short, we have some problems to solve. Part of the solution could be found inside this 40-foot refrigerated shipping container.
They call it The Cube: a modular smart farm, designed to be built in urban spaces in pretty much any configuration you like.
The containers can be stacked vertically or horizontally, with potentially dozens or even hundreds of Cubes fitting together to make one giant farming system, capable of cultivating and growing tons of produce. The hope is to bring sustainable, efficient, year-round farming to spaces that can't traditionally support agriculture.
"The human populations are growing quite fast," explains Seungsoo Han, COO at N.thing, "and we need to come up with some kind of very efficient solution that can actually support that fast-growing population. Also at the same time, we shouldn't actually damage the environment that that population lives in."
At the heart of the Cube farm is an automated operating system known as Cube OS. The system takes in data from sensors inside each farm, measuring readings like humidity, ph levels in the water, temperature, carbon dioxide -- everything that's needed to grow a healthy plant. And each of these variables can be tweaked and optimized, depending on the plants you're growing.
N.Thing has already partnered with Korea's largest supermarket chain to supply greens and, last year, it rolled out a farm in the United Arab Emirates, where summer temperatures regularly climb over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, N.Thing plans to expand into other territories like Singapore and Qatar.