Student project waters roof garden in Flemingsberg

Published Jun 29, 2018

It started out as a sustainability project within the framework of KTH’s environmental management system. Now, CBH’s roof garden has been reinforced with an app-based irrigation system developed by students at the school.

Since a little over a year ago, there is cultivation going on in pallet rims on CBH’s rooftop terrace on Campus Flemingsberg. The plantations are taken care of by the school’s personnel and last summer doctoral students helped out with the watering during vacations.

This year, a group of second year students at the bachelor’s programme in electrical engineering has developed an irrigation system within the framework of their project course. The projected was presented recently and the irrigation system is running since the middle of June.

– It’s really good that the students can create something that is actually used, says teacher Anna Josefsson.

The Internet-of-Things based system is driven by a solar cell and connected to a tap on the school’s terrace, as well as a control unit with a 12 V battery, which is connected to humidity sensors in all planters, plus equipment for drip irrigation. There is also a temperature sensor that measures the air temperature. The members of the cultivation group can schedule and monitor the irrigation by themselves through an application on their smartphones. An instruction manual for users has also been produced by the students.

The system is called HELIOT and is supposed to be sustainable, easy to use and reliable. Since it is still in a development stage, all thought functions don’t yet exist. Currently, it is possible to input at what times watering should occur and which amount of water should be used. The system gives status updates in the app about when the watering started and ended. An alarm system is in development. It shall signal in case of deviations with regard to temperature and humidity to warn if something goes wrong.

– I think the project has been a very rewarding experience, A project is put in a completely different frame when it is intended to be active over a period of several years instead of proving a concept – it is the main difference between creating a prototype and building a finished product. We are very thankful that the school has given us the possibility to work with this project and to take part in this very educational experience, says Ludvig Lindblad, one of the students who have developed the irrigation system.

Sabina Fabrizi

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