GrowBot: An Educational Robotic System for Growing Food

Henrik Hautop Lund*, Martin Exner, Nikolai Eskild Jensen, Massimiliano Leggieri, Malene Outzen, Gitte Ravn-Haren, Malte von Sehested, Andreas Væring, Rikke Andersen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

We present the GrowBot as an educational robotic system to facilitate hands-on experimentation with the control of environmental conditions for food plant growth. The GrowBot is a tabletop-sized greenhouse automated with sensors and actuators to become a robotic system for the control of plant's growth. The GrowBot includes sensors for humidity, CO2, temperature, water level, RGB camera images, and actuators to control the grow conditions, including full spectrum lights, IR lights, and UV lights, nutrients pump, water pump, air pump, air change pump, and fan. Inspired by educational robotics, we developed user-friendly graphical programming of the GrowBots on several means: a touch display, a micro:bit, and a remote webserver interface. This allows school pupils to easily program the GrowBots to different growth conditions for the natural plants in terms of temperature, humidity, day light cycle, wavelength of LED light, nutrient rate, etc. The GrowBot system also allows the user to monitor the environmental conditions, such as CO2 monitoring for photosynthesis understanding, on both the touch display and the remote web-interface. An experiment with nine GrowBots shows that the different parameters can be controlled, that this can control the growth of the food plants, and that control to make an environmental condition with blue light results in higher and larger plants than red light. Further, the pilot experimentation in school settings indicates that the comprehensive system design method results in a deployable system, which can become well adopted in the educational domain.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5539
JournalApplied Sciences
Volume12
Issue number11
Number of pages22
ISSN2076-3417
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Robotics
  • Education
  • Smart farming
  • Smart greenhouse
  • Food production
  • Comprehensive system design

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