Top View of Nurture showing all the Components
Display showing inactive status, which can be activated over MQTT
Display showing real-time readings
The bulb getting turned on to reach the temperature
The Akiro MQTT dashboard
The messaging window to communicate with our Nurture, real time readings showing in right bottom
3D design of the PCB
The fondness towards gardening and plant growth in artificial environment or similar like poultry incubator was a major motivation behind our idea of building Nurture. We wanted to build a feasible and versatile solution with a comparatively easier user interface that can be used by everyone and not only laboratories or industries.
Different species have different kinds of requirements for growth. It’s often difficult to provide the right condition for that species to grow in an non nurtured environment. By right conditions, we mean the amount of humidity, temperature, light, etc., that needs to be present in the environment with balance. With that being said, we have to monitor constantly to provide the required condition. Unlike native ways, which required human labor to do so, we were required to achieve the same with more efficiency using IoT or RF, that also with fast response time and lightweight backend communication for simple and cost effectiveness.
Significance of the problem
In areas with extreme environmental conditions where it is not possible for many species of plants to grow, it becomes difficult to cultivate them. Also one of the biggest concerns, due to adverse effects of nature many plants are getting endangered. In the upcoming days, labs are going to test new species, which might require a whole lot of environment. So an artificial ecosystem is going to be something necessary for Science and Technology. Though many incubators are available in the market, most of these features either automatic lighting or watering or utmost both. Many of these lack autonomous control and monitoring, and even if such features are found, they are very costly, which constrains these incubators only to research and development works.
How we built it
Here we are showing nurture to monitor the parameters for a plant that will produce artificially controlled environments crucial for its growth and seed germination in any environment. We used MQTT for the messaging part and we used motor pump to automatically water the plant and a bulb to warm the environment. Used an ESP32 to connect to the WiFi and ran RTOS on it to run the functions.
Is our solution sustainable? What is our strategy for making the solution sustainable?
Yes, Nurture is a sustainable solution since it requires not such complex operations in the field, which makes it robust and less prone to crashing. Thus making Nurture, as a product, very sustainable. Most of the heavy computation will be done at the servers or the cloud, which saves the architecture hierarchy. And yes, there exist Plant chambers and modified greenhouses, but they are quite expensive. The high cost of maintaining a controlled growth environment is often a limiting factor when determining experiment size and feasibility. To overcome the limitation of commercial growth chambers, we are planning to construct an inexpensive automated Plant Incubator with IoT connectivity that will not only monitor but can autonomously control the environment. Our business strategy involves approaching laboratories that need a modified Plant Chamber for incubation and complete observation of the plants for every second of the day. Organizations working towards saving several endangered plant species from going extinct will also be our target audience. The data collected by the Nurture will also be available for the user to access any time, hence will allow the user to make a discovery about a plant.
Nurture will be very useful to preserve endangered plants. Of-course we have to work on it to make it very accurate so our goal. It can be used in museums to keep such plants and make the plant care less hectic and readable.
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