Two hydroponics experts are offering a simple, high-tech solution to a simple problem: growing excellent bud at home with minimal effort.
"iDro is a smartphone-connected, fully-automated hydro system to help anyone grow high quality cannabis," says Fredrik Lindseth, a 23-year-old Colorado College graduate in Organismal Biology with a focus on plant growth and development, who co-founded iDro with a classmate, economics major Jeremy Harlam.
As college sophomores, they started off growing hydroponic produce in Colorado Springs, but pivoted from fresh fruits and veggies to build and sell hydro systems to cannabis growers.
While the customers loved the product, Lindseth tells Civilized, "We were getting all this feedback: 'once you've installed it and leave, we don't know if we have the time or knowledge to maintain the grow.' We were like, 'it would be great if we could take our knowledge of plant biology and put that online.'"
With iDro, the customer buys the product (for around $500), takes it out of the box, then puts seeds or clones into the system. Then, the customer tells the app what's growing - from Blue Dream to Girl Scout Cookies. That's when the app takes over.
"We upload a set of growth parameters for the strain, which we've developed by talking to experienced growers and via partnering with local clone shops and seed shops to talk to growers at those locations and ask what they've had the best success with. Using that information will allow growers [to] get the highest quality harvest they can hope for," Lindseth tells Civilized.
Systems like iDro remove the need for constant, eyes-on monitoring that can discourage first-time growers.
"With a series of sensors in the system, we automatically monitor the growth environment: let's say the nutrient level is thrown off. The sensor recognizes that, and turns on small dosing pumps that pump the proper level of nutrients from the nutrient cartridge it into the water reservoir."
That means home growers can ensure the grow is operating smoothly without having to be physically present. They can actually go on vacation.
"During the test grow I'd leave for two weeks at a time," says Lindseth. "And the plants were just as healthy when I returned as they were when I left."
While they're still in development, iDro has developed a functional prototype that's gone through a full growth cycle. If all goes well, they'll soon be marketing the system to a broader market with the promises to "ensure that every 2 and a half months, you'll have at least 4 ounces of cannabis."
The overarching idea is to democratize the growing process for anyone, no matter the size of their grow or level of experience; in other words, to "help anyone, grow anything, from anywhere in the world, year round," as the company's tagline says.