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 Leap: When we decided to go battery.
From Remote to Self WateringPower hungry motors were the main challenge to going battery operated way. We found a way the plants could be watered ‘automatically’ without using any power! It’s called ‘self watering’, the principle on which we redesigned the planters. You can read more about all that went behind making this decision here.
Status: UV Treated high grade ABS plastic planters (outer shell) is being manufactured and shipped from China as we speak (See pics)
A big shoutout to:Hariram and Teddy (aka Sudhakar) for validating self watering system. Babu Narayan of Sterna Securities and Arun Tilak for the import connection
Separate the ElectronicsWith the motor removed, there was no reason why we should have fixed the electronic components inside the planter. Instead, we decided to turn it into a portable “dipstick” you could dip into the soil. Better serviceability 🙂
Machine vs Hand AssemblyMigrating the electronics from inside the planter to a dipstick meant a new architecture of all electronic components. It would take time to arrive at the right configuration. Our dilemma: A custom board would allow us to start early by giving us a flexibility to make changes on the go. But it would also be less reliable since it is hand assembled. On the other hand, machine assembled board would be far more reliable but would need us to be dead sure of our design. We decided to go in favour of better reliability, though the trade off was longer time taken to be dead sure of the design.
Does Appearance Matter?Moving all electronics to the dipstick was a smart move performance-wise. But it needed a casing. Custom-designed casing meant increasing costs and time. Some said our backers won’t mind an off-the-shelf box. But again, we wanted push the envelope and design something that looked decent. When in doubt, look at the Alumni network! NID seniors Saikat and Puttaraj from Empoise appeared like an answer to our prayers and agreed to take up this challenge.
Status: We have tested some Lipo powered dipsticks with Wifi and the results are promising. At the very least one charge should last you a month. The circuit, with Lipo charging feature are designed and the first batch will be ready by Oct 15th.A big shout out to: Vishnu
What about other stuff?
Status: Set up Greenopia smart kit at our first gardening expert’s (Hariram’s) place. It has started to learn from his practices. It is currently gleaning data for Microgreens. These heuristics will be tested in alpha release. Once the method is validated, gathering heuristics for the remaining plants that are due to be released in version 1 should take another 3-4 weeks.
All things taken into consideration, we’re estimating the first batch of Super Early Adopters to start shipping by early december. We will keep you posted on any new developments.