Spec

  • Degree Project
  • BA Honours Degree - Industrial Design
  • Duration 6 month
  • @NCAD

Product

MicroFarm is a connected automatised aeroponic growing system that provides their users with everything they need to successfully grow nutritious and delicious plants in an urban home.

Why

We are at the receiving end of a complex food chain. Today's food quality is determined by profit driven production methods. As a response community allotments and city farms in urban environments have gained popularity. However maintaining a plot and growing food requires time and skill. This project set out to challenge the relationship between food production and consumers and enable urban dwellers to become producers.


Actually, why Microgreens?

They grow fast, they have strong flavours and they are rich in nutrients!
Microgreens contain up to 40 times higher levels of vital nutrients in comparison to their mature counterparts. Choosing the right Microgreens can help heal and maintain the consumers mental and physical health. The fast growing greens offer a more conscious outlook on nutritious eating habits in the home environment.


Pass over microgreens to find out all about their natural goodness.




Who uses it ?

James

negative

“I used to grow my own wheatgrass, because of work sometimes I am gone for a few days.“
positive

"Some places sell wheatgrass but mostly its already cut. Before and after running I juice wheatgrass and mix it into a smoothie. It contains loads of antioxidants, which protect my cells from being damaged through free radicals."

Sorcha

negative

“Our apartment does not have enough light to grown my own plants”
positive

"I sleep very bad during the months of January till August. What helps me is tee from fresh Cilantro leaves. If I could grow herbs at home they would be fresher than bought herbs. Knowing that my food is grown without chemical would be amazing."

Ever forgot to water your plants?

Understanding the pain

"Indoor plants require a lot more care."
Early user testings showed that dirt and time intensive maintenance are the downfall of indoor growing. This initiated the experimentation of growing soilless in combination with an automatic plant errigation system. I prototyped a large number of functional "growing machines" that allowed me to conduct user tests throughout all stages of the design process. The biggest challenge was to create an easy and fun grow experience while maintaining a functional and healthy living environment for the plants.


Soil
Rockwoll
Water
Cotton

Growing as easy as putting on a coffee

Inspired by the success of Nestles Nespresso capsules I have developed a growing method that germinates and grows MicroGreens in as little as 7 days. Purchasable "SeedDiscs" insure a continuous engagement with the costumer.



Service Blueprint


App Design

Microfarm.eu App Wireframes

Product Components

GrowFrame


The minimalistic slim-line design requires a minimum amount of wall space and makes maintaining plants highly accessible and fun. The unit can be installed at any chosen hight with only two screws that fit into the keyhole openings at the back of the unit.
GrowContainer


The triangle shaped GrowContainers offer a maximised growing surface while visually appearing slim from the front. The internal base of each growing container is sloped to allow excess water to flow back into the container holder. The growing container can easily be removed to serve MicroGreens and to be cleaned before inserting new SeedDiscs.
ContainerHolder


This 3D printed component connect to two tubes circulating water from and to the WaterContainer. The received water is sprays at high pressure into the connected GrowContainer and enables the high speed aeroponic growing method.

Design Development


Product Summery

MicroFarm is an automated wall mounted living space aeroponic system, that grows edible plants at high speed. In addition to the physical unit it provides an online platform that enables growers to filter and purchase seeds, engage with other microgrowers and control their MicorFarm from the phone. Instead of building a community from scratch MicroFarm utilises the existing growers community of Instagram and turns every MicroFarm user into a Brand Ambassador.