One sector of the economy that should benefit the most from the Internet of Things is the agricultural sector, as environmental sensors are needed to optimize yields and also decrease costs with lower electricity and water usage.
STEMinds Eduponics Mini Smart Agriculture kit is designed for this purpose. At the heart of the kit is an ESP32 board equipped with light, temperature, humidity, and barometric sensors, as well as interfaces to connect external pump, soil moisture sensor, water quality sensor, and more environmental sensors.
- Wireless module – ESP32-WROVER-B module with ESP32 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth SoC, 8MB SPRAM, external antenna connector
- Built-in sensors
- BH1750 I2C light sensor
- BME280 I2C temperature, humidity, and barometric sensor
- 2-pin connector for 12V pump with built-in relay module
- 3-pin connector for soil moisture sensor or any other analog or digital device
- 4-pin connector for water quantity sensor
- 4-pin header (unpopulated) for DHT11 / DHT22 sensor
- I/O Extension header to connect extra sensors with 3.3 – 12 V output pins
- Misc – AT24C02 I2C EEPROM, DS1307 RTC plus coin-cell battery holder, On/Off, Reset, and Wake-up buttons, RGB LED
- Power Supply – 5-12 V power input via DC and USB Type-C interfaces
- Dimensions: 53 x 71 mm
The full kit includes the board, a short (~102mm) STEMinds soil-moisture sensor, a contactless water quantity sensor with dual-sided attachment sticker, a screwdriver for adjusting the potentiometer on the water-quantity sensor, a 12V submersible water pump, a 12V/2 A DC power supply, a USB Type-C data cable, a water hose for the pump, and a water regulator to regulate the flow. A longer, 155mm, soil moisture sensor is available as an option, and the company also developed an extension board for Eduponics Mini with ADS1115 ADC, MCP23017 IO extension IC, four relays and four analog inputs for extra sensors, such as pH, EC, and water temperature sensors that the company plans to support in the future.
The Eduponics Mini board can be programmed with the Arduino IDE and MicroPython, and controlled/monitored with Eduponics mobile app for Android and iOS. Some resources can already be found on Github, including the PDF schematics, Arduino and MicroPython code samples using MQTT, and there’s also a Wiki with documentation to get started. Everything looks geared towards education, which makes sense given the name of the company (STEMinds), and if you’d like a solution to be used in the field, Agromon ESP32-based smart agriculture wireless transmitter would be more suitable.
The project has just launched on Crowd Supply with a symbolic $1 funding goal. Rewards start at $29 for Eduponics Mini board only, while the complete ESP32-based Smart Agriculture kit is offered for $59, and the expansion board adds $19. Shipping is $8 to the US, and $18 to the rest of the world. The kit and expansion board are scheduled to ship in June, but the board-only reward is slated to ship in August.
If you rightfully worry about the current chip shortage, the company claims to have already produced 500 Eduponics Mini PCBs, and assembled 100. They’ve also manufactured 1,000 soil moisture sensors (500 long and 500 short).