The Smart Biodiverse Nature Kit is an indoor planting solution to the lack of a scalable, green alternative to rapid urbanization. Large scale deforestation due to the growing need for urban cities has led to an increase in carbon emissions overall. In order to counteract this decay, there is a need to develop a solution which can run in parallel with urbanization to help educate and involve individuals in the need for plants and how they can help individually. The Smart Biodiverse Nature Kit is a modular, easy to setup and integrated solution aimed to allow individuals and corporations to offset their carbon footprint by equipping their homes and workplaces with easy-setup, biodiverse nature kits that help individuals become more environmentally conscious, reduce food waste by composting, decrease carbon impacts, and add green to their homes. Our solution will be low cost to be available to a wide range of socioeconomic individuals, and it will be self-sustaining so as to not require extensive extraneous care.

The produce itself is equipped with sensors to monitor soil and air properties like temperature, moisture and chemical composition to ensure indoor plants get the right amount of sunlight and water depending on the environment they are being grown in. Connected to the internet, the system is able to use Open API’s to gather upcoming weather data which the inbuilt AI can use to predict the required moisture level for the plants. In addition, a composting shelf underneath the plant bed will allow individuals to dispose of their organic waste in a sustainable manner that supports a cycle of natural, non-fertilizer soil for the plants above; this would also coincidentally decrease the amount of biodegradable waste that is trashed into landfills.

In order to make this educational as well, the setup will be compatible with an online dashboard where users can put in the type of plant being grown and learn more about that specific plant. This data will allow the AI to further customize the nutrient level in the soil and manage the water supply in order to benefit the specific plant in question. There will be security to protect user data as it connects to the database, using a simple SHA-1 encryption algorithm. The software will be password protected so that it cannot be tampered with, to such as altering the water output.

The setup is completely modular and can be installed with simple tools with the electronic components being set within the modules themselves. Once installed, the entire unit can be connected to the internet either by ethernet or wifi (portal will be available). Once this is complete, an intuitive online welcome portal will interface with the users. This system will come in a build-it-yourself style kit, with users building the shelving to their own liking and needs. It will come with all the required parts included in the kit. It with then have a simple to set up monitoring system that connects to internet and with other users to give advice on plants you want to grow as well as help keep track of health of plants you are growing.

The design promotes carbon neutrality in several ways. Firstly, growing plants for individual consumption reduces the carbon emissions that would otherwise be created from the transportation of imported goods. Furthermore, our design includes a composting shelf, which removes the need to use fertilizers harmful to the environment, as well as keeps more carbon in soil for good use. Lastly, the plants themselves will be able to remove carbon dioxide from the air. The system that monitors the miniature garden will be able to display the carbon levels in the area and the contribution to carbon neutrality the individual has made. Overall, this design for a smart biodiverse kit would be a simple way for anyone to promote carbon neutrality in a fun personal way! :)

Inspiration

All of our team members have ties in the planting, farming, and technology fields. Christine is from Texas, and she spends Thanksgiving every year with her relatives on a farm. Mia is from New York and loves little succulents. Brett is from Chicago, and one of his passions is making fresh salsa from homegrown tomatoes. Vaibhav is from Mumbai and grows herbs (especially oregano!) on the balcony of his house. We are entering this project in hopes that aggregate small changes can make a large impact!

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