By Green Thumb
This project is meant to explore the possibilities of indoor gardening by implementing various technologies
such as 3D printing, hardware design and lastly do it yourself hydroponics by way of IKEA hacking.
I tested out a variety of products to get feedback and allowed for all the products to be
open source, which allows the possibility of modifying or tweaking the
initial designs to your needs.
I did a quick survey to determine people's pain points when taking care of plants, to use the data when determing tools that could best service their needs.
A common thread amongst plant owners was that they often forgot to water their plants and would like something that could help them keep them watered. After researching sub-irrigation techniques, I sketched and then 3D printed a prototype for users to test out to see if this method could work.
I gave two prototypes to friends of mine who were not the best plant caretakers to see if having a self-watering pot could aid them and to test out if this could be a viable working prototype. Below are testimonials from my two testers.
I have uploaded the design to Thingiverse, so that you can download a 3D model of the self-watering pot, find a local 3D printing place and have it made.
After testing out the self-watering plant for two weeks, and actually seeing results from initial seedlings
to small herb plants, I decided to experiment with the Arduino UNO. I found out that by using sensors to
measure moisture, temperature and light, the three basic things a plant needs, I could potentially humanize
the experience through machines making it easier on the plant owner.
The following is a manual that illustrates how any one with an Arduino can prototype a Growbot to help
them better take of their favorite house plant.
If you would like to download a version of the manual to prototype your own Growbot, then feel free to click on the link below.
After exploring the world of IoT and breadboard prototyping a sensor controlled plant monitor, I decided to solder my prototype and house it in a laser-cut plexiglass enclosure.
Growbot in action informing the user that their plant is in need of watering because the moisture level is low in the soil.
Depending on where your plant is placed, the thermistor will measure the temperature of the room, based on a healthy temperature for your plant. In this case the LED is displaying red as well as the temperature, informing the user that they should move their plant to a cooler area.
If your plant is in an area that is low in light
While working on the Growbot, I wanted to take the self-watering concept a step further and started looking into hydroponics (soil-less farming). The goal was to build a fairly simply vertical garden with regular house items and some IKEA products.
Similar to the process of creating a manual for the Growbot I made one as well for the Hydronius that users can download, follow along and start hacking. This is mainly a prototype and there are a few things that I would change.