We had a slew of activity this last week I want to share, so here it is –>
The MultispeQ is now publicly available at www.photosynq.org/buy-multispeq! So if you’ve been itching to tell people about it but you’ve been holding back, feel free to forward that link along 🙂 .
Solder, test, repeat
We are testing the new MultispeQ circuit boards right now. Our hardware team (Robert, Jon, and myself) hope to have a working version ready in the next week or two. The new board is very similar to the beta in some ways, but has many added components and upgrades – we went from 180 components in the beta to about 275 in the V1.0! The firmware (written in c++) is also similar but not exactly the same, so we have our work cut out for us in the next month to get everything ready
As soon as we have some outputs from the new board you will receive updates.
PhotosynQ at the Organic Seed Conference
If any group was collaboration-inclined, it’s the community of breeders, both professional and hobbiest, in the organic seed community. There are a number of really great projects which I wanted to point out as sources of inspiration for what we feel is coming in the next 10 years both to plant breeding, but also to extension and farmer outreach. These guys share a vision with our project in terms of expanding involvement in and access to the creation and collection of information in agriculture.
Last year, Nate from Experimental Farm Network organized 300 people to take part in a range of research projects. EFN acts as a matchmaker, helping to connect individuals who are capable of taking part in research efforts (growing plants, following directions, collecting data, and returning seed) with those who have research. You can join as a collector or as someone with a research project here – http://experimentalfarmnetwork.org/
I also talked with Dr. Ruth Genger, who runs the Organic Potato Project in Madison Wisconsin. She’s working with ~25 farmers to both collaboratively select for traits, and build seed stock for, new organic potato varieties. This is one of the best examples of participatory breeding, a phrase I didn’t know but heard a lot at the conference. For their blog and more info – http://labs.russell.wisc.edu/organic-seed-potato/
I was really impressed by the Culinary Breeding Network, out of Oregon State. They integrated the opinions of chefs and the public into the breeding program in a way that I’d never seen but which made so much sense. They brought chef’s to the field, and had tasting parties in Portland, basically anything to better connect consumer to breeder. This kind of thing should be integrated into any breeding program of crops which are bought and consumed directly by human beings (like not cow corn, but maybe sweet corn 🙂
The folks in the Barley Breeding Program at OSU are passionate about barley in a way I’ve never seen (http://barleyworld.org/) . They have their own malting machine, and they also have tastings and get lots of public feedback. I came out pretty convinced that barley is the grain of the future!
Overall, I think other land grant universities (*cough* M *cough* S *cough* U *cough*) should follow the lead of these kinds of highly collaborative, integrated breeding programs.
more next time!