GROUU is a Research through Design process aimed at understanding the role of Tacit Knowledge (TK) in an Open Source Agriculture ecosystem. To do so, different iterations of the same system - GROUU - will be introduced to different real agricultural contexts and communities.
GROUU is also an Open Source modular system formed by a set of sensors and actuators. GROUU automates some agricultural tasks, like fertilizing and watering, to optimize it by recognizing success patterns from Sensor and User-Generated Data. Optimization is directly related to the amount and diversity of data and users.
This Research project explores the hypothetical formation of Digitized TK through a diverse implementation of Open Source Agriculture, and by assuming that some of the sensor data recorded throughout the process is formed by practical actions of the Farmer over its surrounding environment (the farm) and therefore by TK.
The project is divided into three stages:
- The first focuses on GROUU’s adoption by diverse Users and tries to understand it by testing different dissemination strategies.
- Then, it will address the engagement of users in the design process. Open Source is fundamental, but what about the engagement of the actual Users: Apart from Makers and motivated designers, how can Farmers and Farming communities engage in developing Open Agriculture?
- The last step is about the possible implications and applications of TK in Open Agriculture:
- On a technical level, to digitize and integrate it into Open Source Agriculture.
- On a design level, to generate new Open Data streams between different agricultural contexts and communities:
Can Agricultural TK become Open Agricultural Knowledge? So, therefore, a Common?
André Rocha is Adjunct Professor at the Higher School of Education from the Polytechnic of Lisbon.
André ran his own design office (EVOL/LEVO) between 2003 and 2017 when he decided to dive into full-time design education and research. As a senior designer, André has the privilege of working in a wide variety of contexts. This mixture turned him into a maker, enchanted by creative and productive processes. His research also tries to blend these, by continually looking at expanding design into/on fields such as informal education (fabschools.pt) or agriculture (grouu.cc). The later – GROUU – being the project through which he pursues his PhD at Nova University of Lisbon / University of Porto Digital Media Program.
He recently (2019) graduated from Fab Academy, an intensive 6-month digital manufacturing and rapid prototyping program led by Neil Gershenfeld at MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA).
At the Higher School of Education from the Polytechnic of Lisbon, where he teaches Product and Interaction Design, he co-manages the local Fablab (Fablab Benfica), coordinates its participation in the Distributed Design Platform, and is in charge of Maker Faire Lisbon.
Lastly, as an Open Culture and Design activist, he co-founded DAR - a non-profit association – and is currently Open Design and Tech Lead at the Creative Commons Portuguese Chapter. At DAR, he was director, manager at the Fablab and ran a one hundred episodes interviews radio show/podcast about Open Culture.
He is an active collaborator of the Creative Commons Global Network and an organizing committee member of the CC Global Summit since 2016.