Hong Kong-based Growgreen has released a smart indoor hydroponic planter for herbs, fruits, flowers, and vegetables. The ‘aspara® Smart Grower’ employs a removable water tank to automatically irrigate the plants, while LED ‘Grow Lights’ use variable light spectra and intensity to stimulate plant development at different stages of growth.
The aspara Smart Grower uses a range of sensors to detect and monitor variables important for ideal growing conditions, including humidity, light intensity, water and nutrient levels. Using Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52832 SoC—and leveraging its powerful 64 MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4 processor with floating point unit (FPU)—the planters can then calculate and make any necessary changes to these variables, to optimize growth. Compared to planting in soil, and with the aid of in-app planting programs, plants can grow 50 percent faster, according to the company.
Using Nordic-powered Bluetooth® LE wireless connectivity the planter can connect to a smartphone with the ‘aspara’ iOS and Android app, which can in turn notify users when their water tank needs to be re-filled, or when their plants need additional nutrients. They can also access their planting data and be given helpful tips to optimize plant health.
“We have designed the aspara Smart Grower series to provide research-optimized planting environments for the best growth,” says Dr Humphrey Leung, Founder & CEO of Growgreen. “The technology used in these growers aims to help control microclimates, and can provide specific programs for each plant species. It also applies the most appropriate lighting and water flow to offer harvest times of as short as four weeks.”
The unit is powered by a regular DC power supply, except for the planting sensor, which is battery-powered.
The ultra-low power consumption of the Nordic SoC enabled Growgreen to extend the battery life of the sensor by three months. The nRF52832 has been engineered to minimize power consumption with features such as the 2.4GHz radio’s 5.5mA peak RX/TX currents and a fully-automatic power management system.