The background of this project involves examination of the inefficiencies in global food production and experiments in a self-sustainable home-growing apparatus. It aims to create a means of producing and consuming organic foodstuff that would otherwise need to be imported, all within a household. i.e. coffee, peppers, etc. I wanted to create a product that could be widely beneficial, and that would allow any user to improve their lifestyle without negative implications for the planet.
Using an Arduino platform to control a variety of sensors and systems, the GrowInn monitors and maintains the needs of whatever plant it houses. The GrowInn is programmed to sense temperature, humidity, light density and soil moisture within itself. Adjacent to these sensors, a UV LED grid, an irrigation system and a fan ensure the levels on the sensors are maintained. Every plant has different needs and requires different environmental conditions. The Arduino allows the GrowInn to be programmed to suit any plant through a simple threshold system in the programming. This project was designed to incorporate both self - sustainability and environmental awareness as concepts, and to use these issues as motivation to make the GrowInn project more beneficial to a user. It features an LED warning display, typical light cycle settings and a reflective cover to maximise productivity. Producing a small amount of herbs or vegetables that would otherwise be imported could prove beneficial if developed to work on a large scale. Efficiency is the principle, meanwhile incorporating user-oriented convenience and encouraging interest in urban horticulture.
Much was learnt in the development of this project. Research in this area revealed some concerning food production and mass farming statistics but also some reassuring ones, mostly progress in the last 20 years stemming from environmental awareness. During the building process, I discovered great potential for product devices that operate with similar intentions to the GrowInn. The project can be developed to incorporate more intricate systems and sensors, possibly interlinking with the internet of things. There appear to be almost limitless parameters for improvement in this field.