Plants are important for our planet and an essential natural resource. We rely on them for food, water, air, medicines, habitat & our climate. We as humans can ask for help whenever we are thirsty. Plants, however, cannot do that and this made me look for answers to questions such as: a) When to water them b) How much water do they need in different seasons c) Is that same or different for each plant, and d) How would they get water when I am not around?
As per horticulturalists, both insufficient and excess water are equally damaging to the plants. We typically water our indoor plants manually, and that is a problem when we might be traveling or not available in person to water them. As a result, when we return, we find some of our plants are dying! We asked my parents, friends and neighbors how they solved these problems. And all of them said they used their individual judgment.
We had found our problem, and to solve it we developed a product called “AquaNeer” which means water. It uses technology to solve the problem of watering indoor and outdoor plants with the right quantity and at the right time, making sure that “No Plant is Left Thirsty.” AquaNeer measures the soil moisture level, sends mobile notifications to owners (when their plants need or have sufficient water), and starts/stops the pump to supply water to the plant in the right amount. It uses sensors, Blynk IOT platform, microcontroller, relay module, LEDs, pump, connectors, battery, breadboard, software written in C++ language and a demo plant.
Its first version, AquaNeer 1.0, monitors the water needs of indoor plants and solves the problem of knowing “when to water” and “how much to water” by sending notifications to the owner when the plant is thirsty. Its second version, AquaNeer 2.0, supplies water to the indoor plant automatically with very little human involvement. Its 3rd version, AquaNeer 3.0 currently under development, would extend it to outdoor plants and control their watering based on weather forecasts using Artificial Intelligence, helping owners also save on water bills.
We conducted market research to understand the alternatives but did not find them comparable to AquaNeer. For example, we found a solution called Daisy that has a plant sensor and sends notification to an owner when its soil moisture is low, but the owner still needs to water their indoor plants manually. We did another survey to research about the awareness of Daisy or alternate solutions such as Kollea, Wanfei, Neikko by talking to our neighbors, teachers and friends, and nobody was aware of these solutions.
To summarize, AquaNeer is a technology solution and helps achieve the following benefits for plant owners:
- Help plant owners maintain their plants by knowing when to water them.
- Conserve water by only giving water to plants based on their need
- Automate water to the plant based on its need without human involvement
- Reduces water bill for the consumers