We Found a Home!

Since our last post, a lot has happened.

We were able to secure a spot to build our entire rig in between Skirkanich and Levine. We plan on building it and leaving it over the summer for long term tests. It provides a relatively shaded area which means we have more control over the light portion of the living conditions.
Because of some issues with finding cutting tools, the construction of the actual planter has been somewhat delayed but we are confident the base will be completed tomorrow. After we have that built, we will move forward with adding the cover for the greenhouse part.

As far as the electrical implementations go, we have made significant progress.

First off, we are building a website using Bootstrap to show information on our rig. There will be a QR code next to the rig where people can visit our website and stay updated on the progress of the entire system. At this point, it looks something like what is pasted below.

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 11.02.11 PM
Here is an example of the heat map we plan to use to show the intensities of the light sources and water saturation levels at different points in the grid. The website will be hosted on a Raspberry Pi where we will manage incoming data sent by the Photon board.

A nice feature of the Photon board is native support for web hooks. We can “publish” data from the Photon where it is sent to the Particle’s online service and dispatched out to a web hook event that we choose. For simplicity’s sake, we think we are going to use Dweet.io where it automatically publishes the data we send (via a URL) to a JSON file. With that we can parse it and display it on our website or save the data to our database for future use.

We currently have a temperature, humidity, and light sensor interfaced with our Photon. In the coming days we will order the water sensors which should just about complete the array of sensors for our greenhouse. Because of high cost, we have delayed the purchase of the water sensors as long as possible to be sure we are being as cost effective as possible.

Looking forward, we are working on creating a database for a set of preselected plants for which to have “recipes” for specific living conditions. We are also working on two separate integrations for the website. The first is outputting the real-time sensor data to the dashboard. The second is maintaining historical data in a data base and displaying that in a chronological manner; an example might be a bar graph of water saturation over the week.

Next week, we plan on starting the green house portion of the build and interfacing the various control components for things such as ventilation and irrigation.

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