n e o g a r d e n


Tyla Smart, Jackie Phung, Luisa Perez Lacera


The Issue

With our fast-paced day and age, our typical society is one where we are constantly moving from one location to another. Therefore we have compact homes so that it is easy to maintain however, as a result of that, we lose the opportunity for the space and the ability to care for our plants. The problem we are solving is allowing people the convenience to keep a garden and to transport it around their homes while still allowing them the opportunity to travel without having to worry about it. 

The Audience

This is for people who live in an urban environment and wish to have a transportable, self-watering garden.  

Technologies Used

Digital Design & Fabrication- We are using this technology to create the box that will hold the light, the water, the LCD screen, the speaker, the Arduino, the plants, and the button.

Computer Programming- We will code the commands that will mandate the garden and tell it to display the temperature and humidity, when to water, when to keep the light on, and to calm the user with soothing music. 

Physical Programming- We are using this technology to connect the Arduino to the LCD screen, the speakers, and the button.


Speakers for music playback

LCD Screen to display temperature and humidity


Button to trigger display

MP3 Shield to store recordings

Codebender.cc (coding arduino)

Water pump

Lightbulb to act as sunshine


Concepts & Design 

First rough draft of our device

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 10.16.11 AM 

 More in-depth design of our design 

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 10.16.48 AM


Updated concept of our design

Daily Log

Day 1- 7/8/15

Today, we filled out our Imagine worksheet for our design. We also made our first rapid prototype using a simple bag of materials. Then, we presented our prototype to a panel of guests and they gave us feedback on how we should change our project.

Rapid Prototype 1.0

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 10.16.28 AM

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 10.16.19 AM

Day 2- 7/9/15

Today, we started making our rapid prototype 2.0. First, we used Libre Office to design a box using cardboard that would hold the arduino. We then used a Grove Kit to program the lcd screen that would display the message with a touch of a button. 



IMG_7892 IMG_7899

Day 3- 7/13/15

Today, we added a sound sensor to our second prototype, and we added code that would allow the serial monitor to display the sound levels that were received by the sound sensor. We also worked on reformatting the box design so that it fit together more securely. 



An example of the sound levels on the serial monitor


Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 11.38.21 AM

Day 4- 7/14/15

Today, we started working on the code for building the database to hold pre-set messages in. We also finished reformatting the box design and we cut it out using acrylic. However, we ran into trouble because the measurements were too loose, so we need to figure out how we can not only make the box secure, but also design it so that the box is appealing. 


Day 5 – 7/15/15

Today, we got further in learning how to use MySQL in order for us to make our database. We also started researching and playing with how to code a MP3 shield for Arduino. The design for the box was also changed to look like a diamond resting in a stand.

Day 6 – 7/16/15

 Today, we finalized our materials so we can start building the final design. We attempted to start wiring the MP3 shield with the LCD screen and the button, but we slightly failed. We ran into trouble because we had to figure out a new issue/audience to go with our project.

Day 7 – 7/20/2015

Today, we got rid of our original project idea and worked hard to research and create a new one. We are still in the process of figuring out all of the details and the steps that we need to take to reach our goal. We also worked on coding a temperature sensor using the grove kit so that the temperature in the room would be displayed on the LCD screen. 

Day 8 – 7/21/2015

Today, we finalized our new name for our new project: NeoGarden. Jackie made two new prototypes for the project; with each one, as a group we decided that the first one was a fail and the other, which is a .5 scale model of the actual garden, represents what we wanted for our actual project. Luisa did more research on what type of plants works well with a certain type of light. Tyla researched on how to code with the humidity sensor and LCD screen. Luisa and Tyla briefly discussed on how the water system will work. 

Day 9 – 7/22/2015

Today, our group realized how we needed to update the wiki so we each split up the work and begun changing it to fit our new project. 

Day 10 – 7/23/2015

Because we now have a new project, we decided to go more in depth on the materials list and what each object is going to do. We also have begun planning how we want the final design to look like. Lastly, we are also discussing what type of power source our project needs.




A couple days of hiatus has occurred since we have been teaching, but we are slowly achieving more on our project. Today, we were in the house. We have the acrylic structure of the greenhouse, so we got the cutting done today. Since the fab lab was used for the whole morning, we had to resort to cutting in the afternoon. In addition, we also got some materials like the pump. We are currently faced with figuring out a way to power the pump, since the pump can only be powered by a 12v battery, which we used a 12v wall adapter for and works. Since the Arduino can only be powered up to a (5.5v battery), the 12v would blow up the Arduino. Therefore, we need to have separate power sources for the Arduino and the pump. We also got the humidity sensor. In addition, (there was an issue with the Arduino/Protoshield/etc. (change this)) so we contacted Amon for that who will give us further detail.


Today, we tested out the pump to see if it worked. To do this, we used a PN2222A transistor, 1N4001 diode, and a 12V power adapter and wired all of these things to the pump. We were able to verify that the pump is working, but the power adapter that we were using did not have enough mA, so we were stuck. 

IMG_8067 IMG_8066 IMG_8065


This is the last week so we’re really crunching to finish. The final structure is the box, which remains the same dimensions as before, with one light at the top (14W CFL) which will rest on the roof. Everything in the diagram will remain the same, but we are just figuring out the final procedure of setting up tubing, as to where we should put it. The draining system has changed; as the water drains out the five holes in the bottom, a tray will catch it. The tray will be permanently fixed with an inch or so of water, so that the pump can actually draw the water from the tray and recycle the water. This is better than having a separate water supply and figuring out where to put the drainage water. The last bits of project building is configuring the sensors, LCDs, general coding, etc. and some minor physical aspects of the project. Today, we worked on programming our water pump. We were able to successfully hook up the pump, and water flowed evenly in one tube and out the other. We also hooked up the