Virginia Tech® home

Automating a water delivery system for hydroponics

Loading player for
Category: academics Video duration: Automating a water delivery system for hydroponics
The Harding Street Automation Team in the College of Engineering’s Interdisciplinary Capstone course is developing a completely automated water treatment and delivery system for hydroponics. The system will monitor and regulate water pH, nutrient content, and temperature to the user's specifications. Additionally, the user will be able to monitor and control the system from their mobile phone or computer.
This is the interdisciplinary Design Capstone. It was basically created as an initiative to get students of different disciplines, majors, backgrounds working together to collaborate in a very interdisciplinary way. So we have myself and VSA we just spoken to are both industrial and systems engineers. We have a mechanical engineer. He's been putting the frame together and given us great advice about materials when he can have two electrical engineers, one's more on the computer engineering side. And then we have a computer scientist who's been doing most of our code along with the computer engineer. Essentially we are automating the water delivery system for a microgreens hydroponic set-up. We're maintaining the ingredients and the temperature, electrical conductivity of a water reservoir. And we're trying to decrease the human development in the system of actually getting that water into the plant. And so this reservoir is going to be feeding plants on a 24-seven basis. Some plants need more, some plants need less. And what the team is here to do is make sure that the water is safe and healthy and it won't burn out the crop. As well as making sure that that water goes into those crops on a iterated schedule. So every 3 h, 6 h based on what the small business or a farmer wants. To one side of the bucket will have a pH sensor. And then we also have pH and liquid iron, two jars to be some drugs that have a pH Company page down. And it will pump then in as necessary. And that's the hands-off park. It'll automatically detect, hey, we're a little low on pH. What's the pH up in there? And it'll do it all by itself. If the person wants a higher pH for their specific plant, they can just set a number. If they want more nutrients for certain plant, they can set the number. You plant the seeds. You leave, you come back a week later, it's done. Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing is basically who sponsors us and sees us through to the success of this project and essentially the development, the future iterations of this project, working with farmers and small businesses to see what are some ways we can optimize that experience for the users. It's really nice to apply the technical skills that we have and the things that Virginia Tech has taught us. But it's also really cool to see if the real-world application of this and look at it in the lens of how this applies to society and food crop nutrition.