CloudPatch

Class Project May – June  2017

My Contributions  UI Prototyping

CloudPatch studies the intersection of urban agriculture and connected devices, in collaboration with industrial designer Kieran Nageotte.

MODULAR AEROPONICS

Aeroponics replaces soil with a nutrient infused mist that is sprayed on the roots of plants, increasing yields while using significantly less water than traditional farming techniques. We wanted to design an aeroponics system that could adapt to user's spacial constraints and level of agricultural knowledge. The system uses modular grow pods which are monitored and controlled through a tablet.

plant container

connector / pump

fuel reservoir

The form breaks down into modular components to allow for flexible configuration and scalability.

COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

Soil-less farming and urban agriculture are increasingly popular methods of food production. While a products exist for the curious consumer to the seasoned expert, none serve to bridge the gap between the two.

Kickstarter has plenty of nightstand sized models that showcase the concept of soil-less growing, but offer no control or insight into the process.

MIT media lab's personal food computer can control light, nutrient levels and climate conditions to a high degree, but the open source model has a steep learning curve for assembly as well as use.

Interfaces in use are metric heavy and designed for industrial scales.

Competitive analysis generated these design principles:

 

PROTOTYPING

The project focused on developing flows that involved interactions between people, plants, and grow modules.

Early explorations focused on the grow modules as the primary point of interaction with the plants. While this made the relationship between the interface and the hardware very clear, it hid action items behind notifications.

It didn't take long to realize that plants don't need help all of the time. The home page shifted focus to show only actionable items, which also allowed for non plant related tasks to show while giving the input heavy grow modules their own space in the harvests tab.

MAIN APP FEATURES

The goal of the interface is to simplify the complex interplay of biological and mechanical elements at play. The to-do list style homepage only shows actionable tasks to the user at a given moment.

Harvests allow users to manage multiple plants as organized groups. For synchronizing grow times or planning menus, the harvest page includes a visual representation of the grow modules in order to help locate specific plants in a configuration.

Hardware responds to actions within the app for better wayfinding and communication of plants' status.