Why did I make Plantfi?

The main inspiration for Plantfi came from my newfound hobby of taking care of houseplants, which I discovered during the last year and a half. I recently realized that I will often just water my plants without really having a logical reason for it, other than the topsoil being a little dry. This has led to quite a few accidental plant deaths from over-watering. I thought the best way to eliminate this problem would be to create an IoT device that communicates with my phone to tell me exactly when my plants need water.

What it does

The project focuses on two key components: Arduino and an app. For the Arduino focus, I put together a small battery-powered IoT device that uses a capacitive soil moisture sensor to get moisture percentage in soil. The data from the sensor is sent to a real-time Firebase database that constantly updates with new information. For the app, I created an engaging and fun app using Flutter. The app shows the moisture value from Firebase while also adding a bit of a flare like adjustable plant naming, custom-drawn plant icons, and soon much more!

Possible areas of application:

  • Plant health tracker to see your houseplants' health
  • Soil monitor for a community garden plot
  • Moisture measuring for an experimental plant on Mars
  • Much more!

Ingredients

I utilized the Arduino IDE to write and deploy code for the Arduino device. I used Firebase as my cloud database solution. I also made use of Figma to make a basic mockup, and Flutter to create my app.

Figma Mockup

Challenges

The main challenge I encountered during the hackathon was putting all the components together. I approached the project by breaking everything down into pieces and getting pieces working before focusing on their combination. Once I had all the components working, I spent over 6 hours putting it all together and debugging the many little issues that showed up. Other than that, my only other challenge was trying not to spill wet soil or water on my Arduino parts.

What I am proud of

I am honestly proud of all that I managed to accomplish in the span of this hackathon. This was my first time doing a solo hackathon, so I was not sure how much I could do, but I am really happy with everything I achieved!

What I learned

I am leaving this hackathon with quite a few new skills. I learned how to use Firebase, how to create an app using Flutter, and how to connect Arduino to a mobile app. I also learned quite a bit of useful information from the many activities provided by ShellHacks.

What is next?

With more time and labor, I hope to take Plantfi and turn it into something a lot more feature-packed. My goal is to add more metric obtaining functionality to the hardware, and then to make the app even more engaging!

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