Whether it's too much or too little water, sun, or shade, houseplants always seem to find new, fun and exciting ways to drop dead and leave you wondering why you are so incompetent as a plant parent. Trust us, we've been there. We wanted to design an app that tracks exactly what your plant needs, and notifies you accordingly, so that no plant parent will ever have to suffer another heartbreak again.
What it does
Sprout is an Android app which integrates data taken from an Arduino, which tracks variables like water level and soil moisture in order to give you live updates whenever your plant needs some attention. The hardware was built specifically for plants who are fine with being bottom watered, and monitors water levels constantly until levels are low enough to need a refill. Simultaneously, soil moisture data can be tracked through time by the user on the app, in order to make the best judgement calls for their leafy friend.
How we built it
We used the Arduino Uno, a soil moisture sensor and a water level sensor to fix together the hardware component. We used Android Studios to fix up the app.
Challenges we ran into
Trying to integrate new technologies that we've never used before. The Particle Photon, while a very interesting and powerful WIFI IOT device, was a nightmare to work with and set up, and ultimately had to be scrapped in the interest of time and the overall project. We were relatively new to working with an Arduino, but managed to learn the basics quickly through a workshop and some mentorship.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're very proud of our idea and the challenges we identified and overcame to reach a working prototype. We started out with big plans of what this project might look like, but quickly condensed our hack in order to produce a high quality end product that we could all be proud of.
What we learned
We learned that teamwork is very valuable, and having trust in each other ultimately made us work harder and faster as a team. We learned a lot about Arduino and hardware in general, while also exposing ourselves to the software side of things with the Android phone app. We learned more about some components like the Particle Photon, and different sensors that are available and relatively inexpensive in the market.
What's next for Sprout
We plan on expanding Sprout to be fully automated in the future, and to be able to use data in order to constantly be aware of each and every plant's needs. We plan to do this by monitoring new plants for a week in order to recognize their water consumption and recalibrate every season when necessary. We are very excited to continue developing Sprout and making it a truly beautiful solution to houseplant homicide.