Team Vision for Problem Definition Phase
The Durgin Family Farm is relatively close to population centers and intends to take advantage of that through selling U-Pick berries. Agriculture is the largest economic sector in New York and as a result Cornell University has been actively researching growing strawberries in NY, but they consider hydroponic strawberries to be noncompetitive due to the costly infrastructure.
The goals of this project are to develop a modular hydroponic growing system that produces high quality strawberry plants that are as productive as possible, in a manner that is convenient for the customers to pick from, in an economically feasible setup. The system will consist of a stand-alone unit consisting of pipes and supports that are modular and regulated by a microelectronic control system.
Problem StatementIn order to avoid the costs associated with a proprietary hydroponic product, our team will design an open source NFT system with climate control and a monitoring system that will be implemented at Durgin Family Farms at 1175 Martin Road and be available to other interested hydroponic.
What is Hydroponic?
- A method to grow plants using no soil
- Nutrients supplied by a water solution
- Controlled environment to grow plants. For our application - Strawberries
- Can provide increased yields, longer season, use less water, etc…
Articles, Documentation and Videos
Interviews and Feedback
|August 31, 2017||Phil Durgin||1st Customer Interview|
Use CasesPrimary use case is the implementation of the hydroponic system at Durgin Family Farms. This will be a U-Pick Strawberry business.
Other use cases include home gardeners who may wish to implement our open-source design, or another strawberry U-pick business.
The functional use-case of the monitoring system is detailed below.
- Alternate use scenarios can be found here
Project Goals and Key Deliverables
- Develop a stand alone unit consisting of pipes and support
- A modular design of how the units should be tied together with a reservoir
- A microelectronic control system
- A proof of concept prototype of the system built at the farm
Customer Requirements (Needs)
Customer Requirements document can be found here
Engineering Requirements (Metrics & Specifications)
The Engineering Requirements document can be found here
- < $3,000 for prototype model built at Durgin Family Farms.
- The cost does reflect the cost to build system after designing, should be much lower. The $3,000 is budgeted for design, testing, etc…
- System will be constructed outside on Durgin Farm, consideration of building in the elements is crucial (i.e. rain, snow, cold conditions)
House of Quality
The House of Quality document can be found here
Design Review Materials
- Powerpoint presentation: Problem Definition Review
- Notes from review
- Gantt Chart For Next Phase
- The system that will be built this spring may become
damaged in winter.
- Freezing in the reservoir, tubes or pipes could create cracks.
- The weight of snow on the system may cause a collapse.
- Water contamination, keep proper nutrient formula for macronutrients (N, P, K, Mg, and Ca) in proper proportions is especially difficult for NFT systems.
- The water storage, water delivery and plant holding subsystems may be difficult to integrate, especially as the number of rows increases.
- Pumps failing (they run continuously).
- Invasive animals (deer and insects) and plants (fungal, bacterial, viral, algal)
- The strawberry season won’t align with the project build and test season.
- The budget may not be substantial enough to cover the full scope of the project.
- The framework could be unstable in the wind and could pose a hazard to the customer and his customers.
- The system may become infected and taint the strawberries making them unsafe to eat.
- Low risk of electrical hazards.
Societal and Environmental Risks
- In the inter-semester period, some information or knowledge may be lost.
- Customers may be opposed to the means by which the strawberries were produced.
- In the event nutrient water escapes the system it could cause local unwanted fauna to flourish undesirably. (Weeds beneath the system)
Plans for next phaseTeam Members Three Week Plans:
- Ryan's Three Week Plan
- Nate's Three Week Plan
- Ray's Three Week Plan
- Jerry's Three Week Plan
- Kevin's Three Week Plan
- Thierno's Three Week Plan