Vertical farming is super cool, and being able to farm your own things is also cool. Also buying spices, using a little bit, and then never looking at your purchase again is a common thing that we want to avoid by being able to use fresh spices.
Hydropwnics also lets to create a grove of your own hydroponic units that can all be controlled from one central controller. This allows centralized, fine-grained manipulation of the variables that could affect the taste, texture, and aroma of your plants!
What it does
You put in a seedling base, add in some nutrient powder, and then forget about it! It'll handle all the growing for you, taking care of watering, temperature, lighting, and nutritional balance.
How we built it
We used a Raspberry Pi 3 as the master controller for our system. An Arduino Uno was used as an example of the kind of microcontroller that could be used for the hydroponic units. We developed a nice scalable protocol for communication between the devices that can allow up to 128 units to connect to one master control unit at one time.
Challenges we ran into
Figuring out the idiosyncrasies of the electronics that we were working with was a bit of a frustrating process, but we eventually accomplished our goals.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Working prototype with most of the features that we originally wanted!
What we learned
Embedded device programming is hard. Also, it's important to be careful when working with water and electronics.
What's next for hydropwnics
Add more sensors that can allow for fine-grained control of nutrient balance and pH.