I planned my deliverables for thesis as following:
The deliverables are planned in alignment with the week-by-week schedule of thesis class. Green cells are concept development, documentation, blogging, writing, & presentations. Blues represent designing, prototyping, development, & fabrication. Yellows are user tests and synthesis of those tests. Following are the three key deliverables for my project:
1. By Feb 28: Development of basic hydroponic system
Deliverable: Basic functioning hydroponic system and first batch of plants. Hydroponic system is one of the popular ways of growing plants indoor. There is plenty of documentation, guidelines, and materials available to achieve this. By February 28th, I plan to have a basic functioning hydroponic system with my first batch of plants growing in it. This does not involve electronics, scripting or arduino coding; but demands fabrication, prototyping, domain research, and my first ever experimentation with indoor farming. This will allow me to user test and harvest the yield during spring break.
2. By quick and dirty show: Implement feedback mechanism with technology and Interactivity
Deliverable: technology and interactivity implemented into the hydroponic system. Using inputs from user test 01, I’ll determine what level of interactivity is suitable for the project. In the basic system (deliverable 1) user is responsible to manually test and control the supply of air, nutrients, and water. For deliverable 2, my goal is to automate this feedback mechanism using sensors and microcontrollers. Hydroponics are sensitive to external light and environment, therefore it will be helpful to have user interact through sensor readings, rather than opening the system boundaries, observing roots and leaves, or manually switching air/ nutrients supply.
In parallel, I’ll grow second batch of seedlings and transfer those to the interactive system. For quick and dirty show I plan to be ready with plants growing inside this system. I’ll be conducting user test 02 during quick and dirty show.
3. By Apr 11: From user test 02 to Final Working Prototype
Deliverable: Apply changes from user test 02, finish development and detailing. I’ll gather analysis from user test 02 (quick and dirty show) and synthesize a plan of action that’s achievable in next sprint (March 28 to April 11). By April 14th, Along with project summary milestone, I’ll be ready with those changes. This will allow me to have another round, user test 03, before final presentations. For the final presentations and thesis week I plan to be ready with this interactive indoor farm prototype and a yield of fresh greens.
Random thought: I’m running Brooklyn half marathon on 20th May, right after graduation. I love how my 14 weeks training schedule aligns with the thesis deliverables and overall project plan!
By nature, this project has tremendous future scope and possibilities. For example I was initially thinking of redesigns for life on Mars and networked farming, or many people I spoke with had futuristic (and rather fancy) ideas such as growing plants in perfect Martian environment, controlling system remotely with radio waves etc., but to design and develop those bigger ideas I’ll first have to achieve above three deliverables. I intend to leave those achievable-but-not-before-May2017 tweaks for later, beyond the scope of 14 weeks of my thesis project.