December 31, 2015

Alpha Testing Details

The testing of Greenopia’s alpha version went live in mid-November’15, with backers and volunteer-users* in Bangalore. Phase 1 was over by 10th December and we’re running Phase 2 currently.

What’s in the alpha version?

The alpha-test kit

The alpha-test kit

The alpha version comprises:

  • The Greenopia Self watering pot, with customised potting mix and seeds
  • A 3-d printed version of the sensor stick that goes inside the soil
  • The mobile app with basic features: recommendations + checking remotely the moisture/light status of your plant

What are we testing?

Functional testing

  • Is the self-watering pot + custom soil mix supporting plant growth?
  • Is the sensor-stick connecting to wifi and sending data seamlessly in different contexts?
  • Are moisture and light sensor readings reliable and valid?
  • Is the growth of the real plant approximating the software heuristics?
  • Are the alpha features of app functioning properly?
  • Does the battery last long enough with one charge?

Experience Testing

  • Is the set-up process understandable by the user?
  • Is the content and frequency of recommendations appropriate?
  • Are the UI elements that show the status of the plant intelligible?
  • How hard is it for the user to troubleshoot?

In Summary…

Here’s a quick summary of what’s going well, and where we’ve hit some snags:

Going Well

  • Plants are growing! The self watering pot and the potting mix are working very well together. Our testers have grown and harvested many leafy greens so far.
  • Light sensors are working fairly reliably and giving valid data. 
  • For the test plants, the software heuristics are approximating plant growth
  • The basic Recommendations and Plant Status features are working fine in the app.
  • The battery lasts anywhere between 30-45 days per charge in ideal conditions. We have identified cases where it drains faster. We’re fixing those by refining the logic in the firmware about when it should go to sleep-mode.

 Still needs some work

  • There are cases in which the sensor stick fails to connect to wifi – out-of-range being the commonest of all. We’re working on modifying product design to enhance range.
  • Troubleshooting in these cases right now is difficult for the user because the switch to reset the device is sealed inside its casing to protect it from moisture. Giving external access to the switch, while still retaining water-proofing standards, will drastically push cost of manufacturing outside of the crowdfunding budget. We’re reimagining the troubleshooting process by playing with the combinations of hardware inputs and firmware logic, for the device to understand that it needs to be reset, without having to open it.
  • The set up process is currently complex for users to understand. We’re streamlining it in the app so that it feels seamless.
  • We have identified refinements needed in some UI elements to make them more intuitive. These changes will be incorporated in the beta build.
  • The accuracy of the moisture sensor can be improved further.

Once these are sorted, we will add the next set of features to the app and test it as well. singulair le soir.


*Shout out to Alicia, Vidhya, Rajavel, Pallav, Anant, Edward, Shishir, Arundhati, Aditi, Venkatesh, Gopal

Related posts

October 8, 2015

Which Battery?

This was a critical decision both from technical point of view as well as from the user experience point of view. Initial versions of our dipsticks had 3 AA batteries that are universally available. Pros being easily available and low cost. But there were three challenges with it: 1.  Waterproofing the internal components when the battery chamber…

by greenopia
Which Battery?
October 7, 2015

Mother of all Updates!

The journey from prototype to product is full of twists and turns. But we have been able to steadily move forward in it, primarily because of the many wonderful people who have been helping us in this process. This is an update of updates that describes the whats, hows and whos of it so far…   The Big…

by greenopia
Mother of all Updates!

Free Plant-Care tips in your inbox

We love to share what we know about plants. Join our mailing list to receive the periodic plant care tips and updates on our new products. We hate spam as much as you do. So no worries. 

Thank you. Subscription successful. Will stay in touch.