Week 4: Research & Testing

Posted on: Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Over the past week, our team has focused on better organizing the structure, direction, and scope of our project.Finalized Team Idea ConceptFirstly, we have finalized our idea concept, which we’ve aptly titled “Sustain-a-Stack.”Once the team project was eventually agreed upon, we immediately began assessing the needs, requirements, and assumptions associated with this project. Given the obvious reliance on plant growth and an eco-friendly environment, we developed a rough prototype that would assess the influence of two red LEDs on a small plant over a one week period.We began this process by purchasing a holding chamber in which to house the plant and secure the LEDs in place. Secondly, we purchased an individual plant from Home Depot; given that we were interested in results, we decided it would be best to select a plant that appeared unhealthy. Lastly, we purchased two flashing LEDs. The prototype can be seen below.After securing all the components, we watered the plant, documented its current state, and placed the chamber is a dark lukewarm area (in this case, a school locker) for a week.Over time (as seen in the images below), we notice an obvious improvement in color and growth. While, we’re aware that many forces and influences could be responsible, we are more confident in our project’s potential.               Box Design                              Night Vision                     Before                                         AfterWhat we found most interesting was the plant’s growth towards the light. In considering this, there is an obvious correlation between the LEDs and plant’s physical transformation.Team DynamicsThirdly, our team will be separated into 2 sub-teams to better accommodate the demands and requirements of this project. Although we still form a single entity and meet as a team on a weekly basis, for the purposes of productivity, this change was only logical and collectively agreed upon. The decision to form sub-teams was also influenced by individual team member’s availability.The sub-teams are as follow: MAX/MSP  Interface / ResearchBrian / Samanthi / Kiks / ManuelThis team will concentrate on wireless control/stats capabilities, as well as interface design and research.Physical EnvironmentDerek / Andrew / KurtisThis team will address the physical environment (i.e. the plants, soil, water-pump system, research, LEDs etc.) and associated research.Research CompletedLightingIn terms of lighting, we focused on the importance of color and angle. While we came across various color combinations, we began to consider the negative appearance of a rainbow spectrum. After such a realization, we began researching the potential of white LEDs.Type of PlantsSince our team has virtually no background in horticulture, we will be centering our research on low-maintenance plants. Further research is necessary.Watering systemAt this point, we have considered various pumps, but have taken into account the presence of noise.