The Hydroponics group has been experiencing multiple challenges in the past days. On Monday, the emergency alert system that Colin had set up was going crazy and outputting overflow messages. At the time, the car I was using to get home from after-school track practice had a flat tire. Even in circumstances such as these, I should have been able to easily shut off the pumps from my iPhone. I couldn’t do that however because I didn’t have the login credentials for the Smart Life app used to control the pumps. I messaged Ridley and Zyan in hopes that they could shut off the pumps. Neither of them could because, as we later found out, Smart Life needed a 2.4 Gigahertz WiFi connection that the WISRD WiFi did not have. Ridley is trying to sort the issue now.

We discovered what looks like white mold growing in the plants’ growth material. This is likely due to the space not getting enough aeration, as we didn’t see mold growth before the light-blocking curtain was pulled down.


Tremendous progress has been made in setting up the alert system for Hydroponics. I connected three water level sensors to an Arduino and submerged them in beakers filled with distilled water. The code for the water level sensors can be found on the WISRD server in the Hydroponics folder. I added a python script for logging the data to a .csv file. I’m collaborating with Collin Fields for the alert system. He is programming a discord bot to act as the notification system.

I moved water from beaker A to beaker C using a pipette and took a data sample spanning a minute to see if the data will be linear.


Today I began testing the infrared water level sensor. Joe helped me with wiring the circuit as it is not my area of expertise.

We determined that it would be a great sensor to use for the hydroponics lab as the reading shoots up as soon as the sensor touches the surface of the water. All that has to be done is for the pump to turn off and the group be notified when that happens.


In an attempt to fix the Hydroponics Group’s Raspberry Pi not being able to connect to WiFi, Joe Wise reinstalled the operating system. Doing that did not fix the issue, however connecting a USB WiFi adapter did. I will have to reinstall the Arduino IDE and set up Motion software for the webcam to work again. I will have to work on my pitch for The Inquirer as it is due on Tuesday, January 25.

Last week I tested the water level sensor for by connecting it to an Arduino Uno and taking data while Joe adjusted the water level every two hours. I used 100 data points from each run and calculated the average and standard deviation in Excel. The data proves the sensor is reliable, however the curve is not entirely linear so the alarm system will have to compensate for that. This is a great step toward finally creating a warning system so that the people running the lab can be notified if the water overflows.

The goal for the warning system is to have the Pi send out a text to the group if the water overflows, so the pump can be turned off with minimal damage done. This way the experiment can run with minimal human supervision. I will use Twilio to send out the messages.

Once Kezie gets PlantCV working and we incorporate the Ph and Salinity sensors we can start taking data. I have to figure out if I can get both the Ph and Salinity sensors working at the same time since they work by sending out an electrical current.

Oh, and I’m about to test the new infrared water level sensors Joe bought, in case we use those.


We covered one of the tubes in tinfoil to deprive the algae of light. A more permanent solution would be to use opaque tubes, but we need to implement the warning system first to prevent overflows, and installing them will be a pain.


We spotted a green algae growth inside the growth tubes. This is probably because the UV light and plant nutrients make it a great environment for them to grow. As we are growing lettuce and not algae, we will have to find a way to make it impossible for them to grow and harm the experiment.


9 days ago we had the WISRD poster session. I was representing systems integration for the hydroponics lab. This was a new experience for me. I enjoyed telling all of the visitors about the work I do at WISRD.


Last week I set up a webcam livestream using a Raspberry Pi to monitor the Hydroponics Lab.


I talked to Joe about becoming a videographer for WISRD and helping out with the WISRD Youtube channel. I would like to organize and merge the two WISRD Youtube channels as I feel it is taking too long to do so. I think contributing to WISRD public relations will help me make the best of my time here at WISRD.


I joined the hydroponics group because I am interested in growing plants in artificial conditions. Scientists are growing plants artificially on the International Space Station. I am interested in the idea of space exploration and making places other than Earth livable.

Hydroponics is useful for studying the response of plants to abiotic and biotic stresses. (URL, Nga T. Nguyen, Samuel A. McInturf, and David G. Mendoza-C√≥zatl) We will be trying to determine the level of salinity at which butter lettuce and other plants grown in the San Joaquin Valley can thrive.


Last week I decided to join the hydroponics group.I read some material on it and the logs of the previous group. Together with Zyan, I am in charge of figuring out how the hydroponics rig works and making sure it has all the right parts.


This is my first entry. I’ve only been in WISRD for a few days so I don’t know what I am going to work on yet. I studied the list of projects and found a few I find interesting. The hydroponics group is looking for new members to kick-start the project so that would be a good idea for me to do as my first project.