ERIKA: Ideal Climate Locator for Gardeners and Adventurers

Environmental Suitability Device

Always loved the idea of being able to grade an environment for its agricultural suitability as well as its potentially hazardous properties.

So i finally took a crack at it by attempting to design a sort of seed planter which can display environmental Information down to some pretty minute levels of detail.

Ideal for locating optimal environments in which life is most likely to thrive and monitor/ manage plant growth. Not to mention potential early warning systems for weather and harmful sun rays. I call this one: Erika

Gear

For this one, you’ll need:

Raspberry pi 3b+:

Running on Raspbian Stretch for now as the Raspberry Pi4 using Raspbian Buster is not typically compatible with the Grove pi+ however, there’s an experimental install of Raspbian for robots that seems to be well suited for the latest Raspberry Pi operating systems.

Grovepi(+):

Our expansion board for the pi allowing for easy integration of sensors to read off the environment. Follow these instructions to install the Grovepi. And these instructions to bring its firmware up to date.

Sensors

In the right hands with the right goals, sensors can be quite the arsenal of real world data.

RGB/LCD Backlight Display:

This display communicates sensor data via text and/or colors. Great for easy to digest information, alerts and doing work in the dark. (3D Printable Cases)

Touch Sensor:

(or any button I use this because i broke my regular button sensor). I use this to cycle through my various programs.

What i like about this sensor, is that it can work through a 1 inch (2.54cm) thick surface offering the user an option of an invisible/hidden/protected button. And yea it’s much harder to break than your standard button sensors especially with a covering on it. (3D Printable Case)

Temperature/Humidity:

Calculates temperature(mine displays both Fahrenheit and Celsius) and humidity which is enough information to apply formulas to determine Dew Point, fog/frost chances and even CBI which can help determine the severity of a fire after the fact.

This sensor is integral when mapping out what an environment’s like in general.(3D Printable Case)

Alternatively, you can use a Grove Barometer(i use the Bme280 with this code as a base). Measures Air Pressure as well as Temperature and Humidity. The addition of Air Pressure can gift you with the potential to calculate: Altitude, nearby Rain/Storm intensity and warnings, pesticide effectiveness in a given area and vapor pressure (evaporation rate of water in a given area).

This ones not perfect yet as I’m still getting familiar with the necessary formulae and haven’t tested the validity of it’s python code which is is totally unofficial.

Can really flesh out the information that may not be so obvious in your geography. (3D Printable Case)

Sunlight Sensor:

Measures:

Ultraviolet light. Useful for agricultural survivability as well as human safety precaution (see UVI Chart).

Infrared light (Measured in Lumens) for plant growth management. Higher doses can make a plant bigger but weaker, lower doses can make for a smaller but higher density/tougher plant.

-And visible light (Measured in Lumens) for photosynthesis aka plant food.

This sensor can be worked into an automatic light managing system. Alternatively, depending on your needs, you can use a Regular Light Sensor which only measures the visible light needed for photosynthesis. (3D Printable Case)

Soil Moisture:

Determines soil hydration and suitability. Great for locating water rich soil and for letting you know when to water your plants.

Can most certainly be applied to an automatic hydration system and with enough research magic, can help identify different kinds of soil hydration requirements for agriculture such as clay. Can weather down with use and climate conditions so you may want a couple of spares handy. (3D Printable Case)

Code

Your device is only as good as your code and gear. So I tried to design the code to be as general purpose as it gets. To provide core functionality of the most basic of information, warnings and failsafes using a very simplistic coding style.

This way, i hope for beginners to pick up and be able to study/document their environment naturally and more experienced coders to more readily refine the program toward their specific goal.

I’ve also included code for the alternate sensors i mentioned and a META file which houses a couple of useful goodies (like soundFX and a clean shut-off feature) that can be imported for use in any program.

ERIKA_4.0 in Python3

Construction

The units construction itself is up to you and your needs. Your sensors can be attached in any configuration such as on a belt, backpack, tablet-like configuration or stationary greenhouse manager.

Personally, I’m big on portability and wearables so i went with a gauntlet type configuration. (3d Printable Forearm Piece)

Draft 1 for what the final configuration will be. The moisture sensors case has a magnet attached to make its use nice and conveniant. As well as a solo magnet to hold tools and things you may need. Future incarnations will include weather proofed features and hopefully some kind of Faraday lining.

And with this, we got ourselves our very own general purpose environmental suitability device for the aspiring gardener and/or post apocalyptic pilgrim. Have fun with this and feel free to post any improvements or ideas.

As usual, comment if you have any questions and feel free to like, share and Contribute if you think my cause is worthy or if you just like what i do.

Cheers!

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