2019 Silicon Valley IEEE-EPICS Expo Tomorrow!

EPICS Expo is an intimate, invitation-only event to showcase student-led, technological solutions-based projects, designed from the engineering labs of San José State University (SJSU) and Santa Clara University (SCU).

Our team has been selected to receive a grant from IEEE and we will be one of the presenting teams at tomorrow’s 2019 Silicon Valley IEEE-EPICS Expo. We will also be having a poster session where we will be seeking design feedback on our project. We are looking forward to receiving feedback and continue our journey through the project.


Design Process Update

We presented a design process update to the Bio Lab Studio Staff  at the Tech museum in San Jose, CA on February 7th 2019 for final design approval. Tech Museum Presentation

Image1: Approved design for SMART aquaponics system


Sustaining life

In order to sustain life on the system the team will be installing grow lights to help plants grow. The water tank on the middle of the system will hold a mixture of Glofish and Sucker fish.

Image2: Glofish and Suckerfish

IoT sensors and interactive exhibition

One of the most important aspects of this project is to demonstrate, through collected data, that it is possible to grow plants through a self-sustaining system. Furthermore, our exhibition must show the general audience of the Tech technical data in an interactive and intuitive manner, to accomplish this task the team leverages the Kijanigrows microcontroller to upload and display the current state of the aquaponics system in real time. The image below shows the average light and temperature collected over a span of 2 days.


Image3: Web application showing recorded data. 


Image4: Kijanigrows Microcontroller used to collect and upload data


New Design Model

The team is finalizing on the design for the shelves. This new design differs from old design in that the frame has to be built solid to hold the aquarium and the plant beds. Keeping all of that in mind, we came up with the following design below. The metal frames with wooden planks for base and retractable plant beds will be easy to maintain and hold good for a long period of time. The retractable beds will offer the staff members at The Tech Museum a convenient way to access the plants without them having to tamper with the shelving structure too much. The new design is a near final design that will be reviewed by our community partner at The Tech Museum.

Kijani Grows Smart Controller

The group has decided to use a micro-controller designed by Kijani Grows. This linux/arduino controller platform allows the user to detect and respond to physical environments remotely. The controller is a smart IoT board with hardware and software features that makes it suitable for critical and industrial graded supervisory applications such as smart aquaponics.

The connections for the controller to the relay module and connectors to sensors is shown in the schematic below.

The decision to use this specific micro-controller was made after the team took a trip to Kijani Grows’ Farm in Oakland. We saw that this was the board they recommended and used in their own farms.

Kijanigrows Visit and Upcoming 2nd Design Review

This Friday, the team visited Kijanigrows (Address), a company stationed in Oakland that has previously worked with The Tech Museum. This small company specializes in providing custom kits and collecting/presenting data for small-scale aquaponics systems. We have recently purchased one of their Smart Controller boards, yet we needed more information on what specific sensors they provided and at what cost compared to their competitors. Once the team reaches a consensus on what sensors to use, we can proceed with the technical aspects and building of our product.

Next Friday, the team intends to meet with our community partner, The Tech Museum, for a second design review. The museum’s technical staff will be our intended audience for this presentation. We are aiming to gain feedback on our overall design in accordance to their exhibit standards and regulations. Therefore, the team will be busy with fine-tuning and adding to the original slideshow on top of working out the technical specifications of the system.