A plant monitoring device designed by ITERATE which aims to be a ‘smart system’ that has the capability to automatically detect, monitor and analyse humidity and the moisture of soil before relaying the information back to the users phone via an app. Prompting the user’s with realtime data and information of when the plant needs watering. The electronics of the product was developed in-house; the design was then further developed by a work-placement student who designed the product casing, created a brand identity, and realised a concept for the app.
Understanding the need for a newly developed plant monitoring device, in a saturated market, was the first step taken by the design team and led many of the design decisions. One of the main design challenges faced, was to ensure the products size was significantly reduced compared to its competitors. Through market research it was discovered that there was lot of negative feedback from competitors products; especially regarding the form, stating the device was often too large. The designer was conscious to ensure their design reflected this observation and concentrated heavily on improving the form in their design. The electronics also had to be minimised as much as possible yet still ensure humidity and moisture in the soil could be recorded accurately using a capacitive sensor probe and relayed back to the app successfully. Another design challenge present throughout this project was the addition of an app. The app had to be user friendly, accessible to a variety of different users, and translate the brand identity.
“I have learnt so much during my time here at ITERATE, especially about manufacturing and engineering” Anna Pritchard, MSc Student, Cardiff Metropolitan University
To guarantee the form of the product was improved through design refinement, the design team ensured that the electronics were scaled down as much as possible, which then allowed for a smaller, non-invasive device. The form aspired to be a pencil like shape, with a speckled finish whilst retaining the capacitive nature of the sensor probe; this allowed the device to integrate seamlessly into a household plant pot, whilst still maintaining a desirable aesthetic. The app was created using a variation of green tones to represent the nature of its use. It was also laid out clearly with easy usability in mind throughout the curation.
The final outcome of this project was a highly considered smart plant monitoring device, that measures both the humidity of the plants environment and the moisture of the soil in which the plant is situated. The app has a clear layout, recognisable brand identity and efficiently records data that presents the user real time alerts. A number of rapid prototypes were produced to validate the product form and to ensure that the electronics fitted correctly. This also enabled user testing to be carried out and quality feedback to be gained.