P20762: Agriculture Through Aquaponics

Problem Definition

Table of Contents

Team Vision for Problem Definition Phase

Team Plan:


Project Summary

Aquaponics is an innovative system that combines raising aquatic animals with cultivating plants through a symbiotic system. Vertical farming is a modern technique where plants can be stacked and monitored to thrive in an indoor environment. To incorporate vertical farming with raising aquatic animals, some problems that arise include fish vitality, budget, energy usage, and availability of resources.

The goal of this project is to develop a functional, well-documented prototype that allows Colombian farmers to improve their current value chain. This will include training guides, set-up and tear down documents, and an in-country field test plan. Our expected final prototype should be inexpensive, easily replicated, and locally sourced. The current constraints of this project are cost, limited environmental resources, and time.

Use Cases

There are two main use scenarios for this solution.

The first is a family uses the vertical farming solution to raise crops to sustain their own needs. This applies to farmers in both rural and urban locations.

In the second scenario the vertical farming solution has use on a larger scale commercially as a source of income.

Additionally, a more specific use case on user interaction with the system can be found below:

The working document for the use cases can be found here

Project Goals and Key Deliverables

Project Goals:

Key Deliverables:

Customer Requirements (Needs)

Initial customer requirements have been determined from interviews with Marcos Esterman and Dr. Alvaro Rojas (see sources subsection below for interview notes). Additionally, some have been based on the requirements from the previous year of this project.


Decompose the Problem Statement into functions of elements needed to satisfy the customer.

Customer Requirements Table

Each requirement was ranked with a value of 1, 3 or 9, with 1 being the least important and 9 being the most.

The working document for customer requirements can be found here


  1. PRP
  2. Problem Statement and Customer Interview
  3. Customer Interview 1 (Marcos Esterman)
  4. Customer Interview 2 (Marcos Esterman and Dr. Alvaro Rojas)

Engineering Requirements (Metrics & Specifications)


Create a contract between the engineer and the customer where indisputable satisfaction of the engineering requirements equates to customer satisfaction

Engineering Requirements Table

Engineering requirements were based off of customer requirements.

The working document for engineering requirements can be found here.


House of Quality


  1. Confirm that satisfaction of the Engineering Requirements implies that all of the Customer Requirements are met.
  2. Facilitate design trade off decisions

House of Quality Table

The house of quality was created using both customer and engineering requirements.

The working house of quality document can be found here.

Design Review Materials

Plans for next phase

Here is a planned schedule for the Systems Design phase:

Home | Planning & Execution | Imagine RIT

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Build & Test Prep | Subsystem Build & Test | Integrated System Build & Test | Customer Handoff & Final Project Documentation