Engineers Without Borders

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Extracurricular
The design of an automated rotatory hydroponic garden, making a low-cost, high yield system to grow plants in a controlled environment
Group Members
Ara Khodavirdi, Samuel Sheehy, Alberto Bosco, Leon Aristou, Will Hartnoll, Ruta Czaplinska, Arthur Thirion, Hamilton Law

Engineers Without Borders UK is a national organisation with the goal of ensuring engineers apply their skills to make a positive contribution as responsible global citizens. The University of Southampton branch concentrates its efforts in volunteering, outreach, and the design of sustainable projects.

The aim of this project was to design a compact farming system to ensure high yields, using a minimum amount water and energy while occupying minimal space. This was predominantly achieved with the use of sensors, actuators, and LEDs to achieve optimal growing conditions.

The design of this project began in November 2016. The group considered a range of design concepts, requirements, and opted to develop a rotary configured design focused on minimising water usage. A number of challenges were encountered during the course the project. The managing of a large group with different and sometimes conflicting ideas that required clear and balanced channels for communication. Technically, it was challenging to select suitable materials within the constraints of budget, the need to be water resistant, and low in weight. The design also focused on a solution that could easily be reproduced by others and with varied resources.

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