In a once-vacant lot in Brooklyn, a group of friends with a mishmash of experience in software development, farming, international development, and baking are coming up with vegetable-machine hybrids that we actually hope will take over the world. The cyborg tomatoes and kale can’t be programmed to go back in time and kill rebel leaders before they are born (yet). But they can tell their human overlords just how fast and well they’re growing.
The founders of Feedback Farms have wired up their plants so that data on soil conditions, moisture, and light are automatically collected and transmitted to a data-collection program. Right now, they’re using the data to evaluate planter designs and to decide how to optimize limited labor resources.
So far, it’s improving their farming game: This summer, they’ve only had to water tomatoes once a week, according to Wired. In the future, they’re thinking of collecting data that could automate the process of figuring out which plants have fruit ripe enough to harvest. This is either the future of farming or the moment in history that inevitably leads to the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.