The gear is beginning to roll in! As with any reasonably complex endeavor at any reasonably complex institution, procuring the “stuff” to make a project work takes a great deal of time and energy – lots of rules and forms and budget strings and signatures and hoops to be jumped through. For this particular project, the electronics – chiefly Arduino shields and associated sensors – are sourced from a Spanish company called Cooking Hacks. We chose this particular system because a) the parts seem to be well integrated and seemingly well thought out, and b) Cooking Hacks seems to have the code worked out, not just for the shields and sensor interfaces, but for the server-side bits that make the web integration work. In short, the goal is to get a prototype up and working with a minimum of coding and fuss, and the Cooking Hacks gear seems to fit the bill.
I was able to get most of the sensors working in relatively short order, so I’m feeling good about the progress. Still waiting on the purchase order for the tank itself, and the ECO-Cycle Aquaponics Kit for the top, but we were able to get a small test tank up and running, thanks to some spare parts the Biology Department was able to scrounge, and some help from Max Mahoney (Chemistry).
In addition to the little aquaponics setup above, we gathered up another unused 23-gallon tank, complete with filtration and gravel and all the parts necessary to bring up a complete “development instance” of the project in the Innovation Center, which we’ll use to test the electronics, and to get the water and filtration and fish and procedures sorted out. Progress!