California-based product development company Fathom works with and sells Objet 3D printing technologies, and has a Connex500 in-house for prototyping products and parts for their expanding client base.
One of their most recent projects was undertaken for two local graduates, Alejandro Velez & Nikhil Arora, called ‘Back to the Roots’ and involved the development of a home farming aquaponics system. This is a domesticated self-cleaning fish tank that also provides a sustainable environment for growing food fit for human consumption! The boys are obviously passionate about encouraging people to consider growing and eating their own food sustainably. An earlier project saw them successfully launch a mushroom growing kit.
The Personal Aquaponics Garden ‘provides a closed loop system that mimics the symbiotic relationship between plants and fish.’ The fish water, including the waste from the fish, is essentially used as fertilizer for the plants, which are atop of the tank and draw in the water. They “clean” the water and then pump it back down for the fish. This all takes place without soil and, perhaps most importantly, without any chemical fertilizers. The added bonus – you never have to clean the water!
Really rather ingenius, I thought. Watch the video, their interaction with some young children as they explain the principles behind the project is particularly endearing and illustrates their commitment to education and seeding their ideas into a (much) younger generation by getting it into classrooms — at circa $60, it is definitely not beyond the realms of possibility to see them in many homes either.
The entire tank and hood of the system, as seen in the video, was prototoyped on the Objet Connex multi-material 3D printer using the VeroClear transparent material for the aquarium body and the VeroWhitePlus material for the hood.