The AeroFarm team has worked on the growing unit for some months now and as the year is approaching its end, now is a good time to recap on our progress.
The whole team has researched aeroponic farming and the possible solutions to solve the challenges with the current prototype. The main ones include the sensors being unreliable, the sprinklers getting clogged and the pH levels being difficult to measure and control. Naturally, we are looking into the optimal growing conditions and usability as well. Our research has lead us to order some high mist nozzles and sensors and we are looking forward to being able to test them!
As in almost every product development process, we have also prototyped the product with 3D models and computer-assisted design. The goal of prototyping was to understand what different ideas could look like and how the whole unit would be constructed in each case. These models will help us in constructing physical prototypes. For the first prototype, we will start testing a model utilizing mist for watering the plants in January.
The IoT system
Connectivity and data collection were important aspects of the first prototype as well. Our team has looked into the sensors researching design models to improve their performance and reliability. We just reached a major milestone, and have been able to create a working prototype of the electric parts in the system!
At the same time, we have studied best practices for publish-subscribe systems for our program architecture, implemented basic MQTT communication between a microcontroller and server and created an architecture for the server-side program. Our GitHub page is also in the works, and we will post it here as soon as it is up and running.
We wish you Happy Holidays and an Excellent New Year!