Sensing a Plant
Create a cheap, simple, and reproducible multiple-sensor platform for sensing plants in an indoor setting—a ‘kit’ of sorts, though modularity will be of secondary concern to ease-of-use and functionality. Ideally, the system could be assembled by people without prior electronics or programming expertise, students in particular.
The target materials are papers and fabrics. They are easy to use and can take many forms. Fabrics have already proven to be an effective substrate for cultivating plants hydroponically, and paper shares many of the same qualities. Such ‘soft’ materials offer good material durability, as well as resistance to moisture. Ideally, each sensing ‘unit’ would provide consistent and easily-portable outputs to a larger sensor-monitoring system that could both collect data and provide meaningful, real-time feedback. Whether or not such feedback would be incorporated into each ‘unit’ is an impending design decision.
Beyond the standard set of physical metrics—moisture, light, etc—the sensor system should encourage human interaction with the plantings. The goal is not to automate the administration of the garden, but to encourage interaction, learning, and engagement.
There will be an emphasis on exploring a broader plant sensor space, beyond the conventional survival metrics—moisture, light, nutrients, etc.—to encourage interaction with the plantings. The goal is not to automate the administration of the garden.
There are a number of projects in this space—and they are proliferating rapidly.
Telegarden. A web-enabled robotic arm allows users can tend to a garden over the internet from a number of years ago. http://www.usc.edu/dept/garden/
Botanicalls. An internet-enabled moisture sensor. Built using custom components—prohibitively expensive. http://www.botanicalls.com/
Garduino. An Arduino-based garden automation system. http://garduino.dirtnail.com/
Gardenbot. Another Arduino-based growing system. http://gardenbot.org/.
Indoor Gardening Walls
A commercialized felt growing-system looks like a great template for a modular system: http://www.plantsonwalls.com/Default.asp
Hydroponic Growing Systems
Integrated watering systems for indoor gardening and winter seed-sprouting.
November 15. Finalize sensor-set & explore various novel sensing modes. Read some literatures.
November 22. Get some working sensors going.
November 29. Experiment with various materials and form-factors: textile, paper, clay.
December 6. Build sensor array prototype. Play with plants.
December 13. Scale up. Make everything work. Party.
Final Project Presentation