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Auto Estufa: greenhouse for urban gardening with automated irrigation and lighting control system

Abstract

This PIPE (Pesquisa Inovativa em Pequenas Empresas) project proposes the development of a greenhouse, controlled by an automated irrigation system for the cultivation of plants in a controlled and protected environment. The Auto Estufa system allows cultivation with automated irrigation, nutrition and lighting, done efficiently and accurately, thus increasing the productivity of micro producers, both in urban contexts and in peri-urban areas and small agricultural facilities. In addition, the system will have Wi-Fi connection, being able to send information and receive commands from anywhere in real time. The system also includes a cultivation module involving pots, irrigation tubing, small reservoirs for water and nutrients, as well as all electronic components necessary to automate the system's operation, thus guaranteeing proper cultivation. Using methods and techniques of design thinking and maker culture, we plan to use 3D modeling, rapid prototyping, and CNC milling machines as the basis for the development of the physical components of the cultivation module. As far as hardware goes, we will use commercially available electronic components and microcontroller boards, such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi. This will facilitate the prototyping of functional tests and will expand our possibilities of access to sensors and components already developed by third parties. In addition, by adopting a language based on C/C++, the development of the software responsible for controlling the sensors and hardware functions should be faster and more dynamic, since we have access to the numerous open source libraries and base codes available for our use. There are numerous studies that show the benefits of assisted cultivation. The use of greenhouses for example not only protects plants from attack by pests, but also allows the cultivation of plants even in hostile regions of the planet. Also proven are the benefits of using automated irrigation, both by reducing water waste and by achieving greater plant growth, especially when combined with nutrient irrigation. In recent decades, however, there has also been significant advance in the use of artificial lighting to increase productivity. Our project aims to integrate these techniques through automation and to create a solution that facilitates the use of these technologies even in small spaces. The company aims to meet a growing demand within the Brazilian market, which is equipment that supports the cultivation of food and plants, facilitating the tasks of caring for and cultivating plants in small spaces. It is therefore a solution aimed at multiple customers, from people who grow ornamental plants and medicinal herbs at home as a hobby, to micro producers with a high degree of demand for their vegetables and greens. With the help of technology and automation, anybody with an interest in cultivation can count on an intelligent module that will help them to grow plants in a controlled environment, free from pests and pesticides. (AU)

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