US (NY): WNY container farming, LED lighting companies team up with UB on AI solutions for plant health

A new Buffalo venture thinks it can help plants grow better indoors by using artificial intelligence to fine-tune the light they are exposed to and monitor their health.

If they are right, the computer-enhanced lighting and imaging system they envision will make it easier to grow plants indoors and extend the growing season in places like Buffalo, where summers are short and winters long.

The idea is the brainchild of a University at Buffalo graduate who just bought an industrial LED lighting company and is teaming up with the CEO of a local indoor farming business that grows vegetables and herbs in repurposed shipping containers. Muk Musleh got dual bachelor's degrees in electrical and computer engineering from UB in 2009 and last year bought StarCo Lighting, the LED lighting company he has helped lead since 2016.

Gabe Bialkowski founded Ellicottville Greens, the container farming company that supplies lettuce, herbs, and microgreens to 14 school districts and a hospital in Cattaraugus County and is expanding to the City of Buffalo. The companies just got a research grant to partner with artificial intelligence experts at UB to devise a product combining tunable lighting with advanced imaging and AI to better care for plants in indoor growing operations like Ellicottville Greens.


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