" Steadily and alarmingly, humans have been depleting Earth’s soil resources faster than the nutrients can be replenished. If this trajectory does not change, soil erosion, combined with the effects of climate change, will present a huge risk to global food security over the next century" ~ Berkley University
With the rapid changes in our world due to global warming, new, sustainable methods for growing crops need to be engineered in order to reduce our global footprint within world and introduce cheaper technology that can be applied towards geographical, non fertile areas, such as third world countries in South East Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa.
What it does
Our hydroponics system (Called Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) Garden), monitors flow, conductivity, PH level, environmental conditions, air quality, nutrient amount, and antifungal treatments through the usage of Raspberry Pi's. This electrical component will intelligently automate such systems to ensure optimal growth for plants. In addition, we decided to apply computer vision and machine learning to measure and predict plant growth and yield.
How we built it
Tears and Blood...
Through the usage of PVC pipes, rubber hoses, and power tools the team was able to create a framework for the gardening application of the project. The pump receives the water from the container, then pump's it up to our T- system which guides the water to a vinyl downspout, which places the water in our dumping system, thus, starting the system all over again.
Challenges we ran into
1) We had a minor issues with the sensors, thus, we decided to modify the project to include Computer Vision, that would utilize Machine Learning algorithm's and determine height. Later on, this can be used as an indicator of the plants conditions, which can estimate estimate the yield, and site specific approaches.
2) The actual hydroponic system (the one with the PVC pipes), had a few missing components. Thus, through the usage of a heat gun which molded the PCV pipe to our needs, allowing us to mold the components that we had into the system.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Adaptations and Improv.
What we learned
We all got hands on experience with Arduino's, soldering, and power tools, allowing us to find and refine new skills outside of the classroom.
What's next for NFT Garden
For the PVC framework, we would adapt some of our rubber hoses to ensure optimal suction from the water pump.
In addition, we will receive our final set of sensors and precision machinery this upcoming week, allowing us to create much more data on top of our Open CV and ML approach.
Lastly, we would finalize the circuits and ensure that all components are in sync.
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