One of the challenges presented at qHacks is "best long-range IoT Hack". We noticed that remote communities don't have much access to the internet via wi-fi and some of those remote communities have farms and greenhouses that need to be kept properly. To build a wi-fi network across acres of farm land would not make an financial sense so a long-range IoT device that connects to a 3G network would be a better solution. There are also small greenhouses involved in hydroponics and vertical farming that would need long-range IoT because these greenhouses are outside of wi-fi range.
What it does
We devised a long-range IoT hack that will help remote communities grow the best plants ever by measuring and optimizing moisture, temperature, humidity level, and light level. Based on the measurements, it will tell the user to adjust nutrient levels for the plants. It leads to precision agriculture and can help farmers optimize for the best yield in both numbers and quality.
How we built it
Using a particle board electron that has an antenna and is also attached to sensors to measure those quantities. The antenna connects to a 3G network and sends that information to the Particle cloud. The Particle cloud then connects to an Android App and a web interface that a farmer can view to keep track of their yield.
Challenges we ran into
None of us knew how to do hardware. It was our first time working with the particle board electron and we ran into many pain points. We wasted a lot of time with getting the particle board electron to run properly to only find out that the signal was weak inside the building. We tried moving around and then finally settling into the coffee shop because that was one of the few places that had a window and that could accommodate us. Our Android development skills were weak as well, and we had a lot of time struggling getting through the documentation of Particle.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We got the hardware the measure the environment with the sensors. And the android application shows charts. And we are proud that we learned about hardware.
What we learned
We learned how to assemble and work with hardware. We learned about long-range IoT and the benefits of long-range IoT over short range IoT that is connected to wi-fi. We learned how to develop in Android. We learned to try something new and be daring.
What's next for Particle Plant
Talk to farmers to see if something like this would be valuable to them. Also have a system where everyone in the supply chain can keep track and monitor the quality of the food they get from the source (farmer).