Student engineers have been assigned to teams charged with the responsibility of monitoring, analyzing, and controlling variables within our vertical Mars Farm. Raspberry Pi and Arduino micro controllers are used as they wire sensors and write code to help understand the world of smart innovation and IoT. To date, our students have accounted for ambient temperature, humidity, air pressure, carbon dioxide concentration, light intensity, water temperature, pH, nutrient levels (EC), water levels, moisture content of growing medium, biomass, and energy consumption in kWh.
Remote monitoring of these variables has been achieved through the integration of the MyDevices Cayenne IoT dashboard. Automated responses have been achieved using RF transmitters that control remote outlets, wired relays that trigger cooling fans and water pumps, peristaltic dosing pumps that administer pH and nutrient adjustment solutions, and 3D printed sensor mounts that are moved with servo and stepper motors.
Students are currently working on voice and vision recognition APIs to allow a more immersive user interface between farmers and their gardens.