I.

OVERVIEW

 

Plantsense is an intelligent and self-sustainable aquaponic herb garden. It is an autonomous system that can emulate nature with the use of sensors that measure and monitor humidity, light and temperature among other things. My interest in sustainability led me to work on this project, exploring the current food system and how we can improve it.

 
 
 

GROW FOOD

icons-04.png

He can now eat nutritious meals everyday and has a deeper understanding about nurturing plants and fish.

 

MONITOR

He can monitor and control the environment of his plants by using the connected mobile app and viewing sensor data from Plantsense.

 

OPTIMIZE

icons-02.png

Plantsense tells him when his herbs are ready to eat. He can experiment with the environment to get the perfect flavor.

 

EAT HEALTHY

icons-05.png

He now eats nutritious and organic meals everyday. He shares his knowledge with the global Plantsense community using the app.

 
 

PROJECT LENGTH

1 month 

TEAM

Solo project

MY ROLE

Build, test, iterate

SKILLS

Hardware and interface design,

Arduino, aquaponic farming

 
 
 

II.

RESEARCH

 

My research informed me that we have very little information about our food. For example, the average age of an apple in a grocery store in the United States is 11 months. It is plucked and frozen for months in an atmosphere of 1-methylcyclopropene, and by the time it reaches your nearest grocery store, it has lost many of its nutrient properties. This lack of transparency in our food system made me ask the following question: why don’t we grow nutritious food closer to our homes? 

 
 
 
 
pexels-photo-533343.jpg

The average age of an apple in a grocery store in the United States is  

11months.

 
V4-07.png
 
 

III.

 

PROTOTYPING

 

 

Food can be grown several different ways:

  • SOIL - traditional method
  • HYDROPONICS - growing plants with their roots in water
  • AEROPONICS - growing plants with their roots suspended in air
  • AQUAPONICS -  replicating nature by growing plants in an ecosystem where plants and fish sustain each other.
 
 
Portfolio Smart home garden-08.png
 

SYSTEM DIAGRAM OF PLANTSENSE HOME GARDEN



 
 

Monitor your plants by viewing sensor data from your smart garden.

 
 
 

Join the Plantsense community and share the experience.

 
 
 

Plansense Recipes help you start cooking with your fresh home grown food.

 
 
 
Portfolio Smart home garden-10.png
 

IV.

THE VISION AND NEXT STEPS

 

 

My key learning was that replicating nature was a delicate process. For the system to work efficiently, it would require either expert plant knowledge from the monitoring team, or well trained artificial intelligence to recreate the balance of nature.

This project inspired me to think about the global food crisis and how we can solve it. Over the next few months I segued into a broader systems project working closely with the open source Food Computer project from the MIT Media Lab.

Special thanks to Eric Maundu for his invaluable mentorship. He does this for a living at www.kijanigrows.com