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Professor hopes to end hunger with 'food computer'

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Posted: Mar 6, 2021 9:53 AM

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    OMAHA, Nebraska (WOWT) -- New technology being developed at UNO is helping to put an end to hunger in the metro.

Soon people could be growing their own nutritious food from their home.

Kiran Bastola is an associate professor at UNO and for the better part of five years, he’s been working on what he calls “the food computer.”

It’s basically technology-assisted farming.

“Right here is a heater, you have a fan here. This is the humidifier, you see. And it is connected to the computer,” said Kiran Bastola, PH.D UNO associate professor.

This is just one of his models, a touch screen allows anyone to choose what type of vegetable will be grown inside the chamber.

The computer controls the light, food, and water and that creates the perfect environment for a plant to grow.

“You don’t have to have a green thumb to grow. You can plugin what should be the condition, program the computer, you put your seed there and the nutrient that is called for and all you need to do is press the button,” said Bastola.

Bastola says he believes this is the future of food. He says it can not only help reduce food waste but help restaurants grow food in house.

“It’s not a matter of if… it is when.”

The real goal of this machine is to end food insecurity locally. He hopes to see this being used in homes right here in the metro.

“If only somebody in the community learned how to grow and substitute their breakfast with greens, that is mission accomplished, right?”

Next week Bastola will be presenting this to the public for the first time in hopes of being able to build more “food computers” to battle food insecurity.

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