Final - System design

For future indoor farming, we should not make a pot or a container, we make a connector which can combine our resources and our food.

I've already got all the materials and working on BlueTooth/Wifi/Web connection.

Project schedule

03.22    define the problems of existing products (why people don't want them)

03.25    lighting/watering control test

03.28    farming data collection/ product design/ material research

04.01    prototype building

04.05  plants test and data collection

04.20  finalize design

05.01    final presentation preparation/documentation

05.03    final presentation








Project proposal - indoor garden


One thing that makes me frustrated is, I love plants so I used to have 7, but 5 of them died in half an year. Now I just have 2, but I'm pretty sure they will die soon because I always forget to water them, and I never do fertilization, you know, life is busy...

Below are the instructions following with each plant when I buy them. They are detailed and useful, but I just don't read them, or forget them quickly after reading.

I watched lots of videos about future food this week, BBC, TED, etc. Most of them mentioned growing food in city, in office building, even in our home. But gardening is not easy, how can I grow my own food for daily needs when I can not even take good care of several plants. Of course, smart garden is the solution. Then I did some exploration.

These are the most likely things we can find to help grow plant easier. They all follow a certain type of design and only deal with limited type of plants. As you see in those instructions before, even just two small plants, they ask totally different light and water. I don't know too mach about edible plant, but I believe they are more complicate when involving flower and fruit.

So I decided to make a project about indoor garden, even lots of people already done it before. For me, I want this project be really useful, more beautiful/artistic, flexible for combining more types of plants as a whole system, and smart enough so that plants have higher survival rate with least care. I hope it is especially good for busy people who love green and nature but living with less sunshine and fresh air, and not only for food, but also for pleasure and relax.


The main technology will cover Arduino, Raspberry Pi, light design, mechanism, engineering, fabrication and even mobile application. They are all ITP learnable and good for my own skill building.

what if all foods are cubes

This time, I tried to think in a different way.

This picture comes from Lernert & Sander. I just desperately love it. Cube is a magic shape for me. It always looks same no matter how you place it, and is stackable without thinking about how.

Like I said in last post, food waste is the problem I want to dig more and do something about. So what if, in an extremely impossible way, all of our foods are in a cube shape. Cube vegetable, cube meat, cube fruit, cube salt just like cube sugar. Then we can pack, transport, stock them with the least damage and space waste, and buy, cut, cook, eat them with easiest estimation and calculation of quantity. Imaging our daily life are "the maximum number of food I can eat in one meal is 2 medium cubes, I need 6 cubes one day, so I can buy 40 cubes of food for this week.", "The recipe said I need 2 small cubes of egg and 1 small cube of spinach...", etc. According to this cube world, we have less strange shape ugly food and imprecise estimation of food need, and can build cutting machine with international cube standard.

Then, how about try to make everything cube? I know someone in China and Japan already doing this, like this cube watermelon. And there is some thing can make boiled egg cube. Since we have our little garden in floor, I will try to grow vegetables in cube!

Some rough ideas about food problems

After I did some readings, I realized most of the projects are focusing on growing food, more food, growing it somewhere else, in shorter period or without human hardworking. We think we need more food when we are throwing half of them away. I remember once I went to a dessert shop beside Bryant Park with my friend at 8pm and wanted to buy a cake. Then the woman in the shop just told us they are closed and threw a brand new cake just in front of us! It made me shock. There are some reasons causing food wast I think:1) Imprecise estimation of food need, both from grocery and ourselves. 2)Uncertainty of the time food goes bad/rotten. 3)Imperfect appearance or taste. 

So, how about we do something to prevent food from rotting? I did some research and found out that honey is the only food that does not spoil while in an edible state. For me, honey equals to sugar. According to this, can we make sweet food combine with honey so that they can stay fresh for a significantly longer time?

Then if we can not, how about we do something to tell people more precisely about when the food will be bad enough to eat so that people can organize their purchase more reasonable?

In the worst situation that we can not do either, can we make something that can transform the bad food to something we need everyday, such as paper or air filter, so that we can save something else?

There’s another problem I noticed about food is people’s disorder of eating. Everyone want to be thinner and healthier by control their digest of food, however most of them just can not fighting with the desire of eating. So can we do something on the food to generate the signal of satisfy in our brain?