This article first appeared in BTS Issue 3.
By Ang You Shan, Junior (Class of 2021)
Engineering Product Development
Plants are almost like little people. They need enough attention and care – even if it’s simple things like sunlight and water. Trouble is most people aren’t aware of the basics. So, gardening tends to become tedious and ends in frustration – for both the grower and the plant (I’ve accidentally killed many of them, oops!). So, as part of Design Odyssey’s Drive Programme, my team wanted to encourage more people to enjoy gardening. Hence, we decided to create Bud – a smart planter buddy.
Meet Bud, a smart planter buddy
Through Bud, we made gardening an interactive journey. Multiple sensors in the pot track the soil moisture level, amount of sunlight received, and other variables. Bud was capable of showing the plant’s health level using emoticons – a smiling face when nourished or a sad face when thirsty. With Bud, one could connect with the plant like never before. Gardening is now more enjoyable!
Bud’s sad face indicates that it might need more water
Design-thinking element of Bud
The design journey for Bud started off with a big, mighty goal to encourage more Singaporeans to consume healthy and organic food. We needed to find out why people don’t grow their own produce. So, we began on-ground research at different places including the Botanic Gardens. We also visited multiple indoor farms and the community gardens in Singapore, to get a better grasp of the gardening landscape and the true pains of an amateur gardener. Post research, we applied the learnings in our design thinking – which were critical when developing Bud through every version of the prototype we created.
How has Bud developed?
Bud is no longer just a help for amateur gardeners. It has embarked on a more ambitious direction as we found there were more pressing issues that we could address. Can Bud help clean up air? Can it help stressed-out office workers? With new problems to solve, we are currently working on a plant-based air purifier called HAVA rings which can clear pollutants in the air, especially Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) which cannot be removed by many commercial air purifiers. We are optimising the design of the product and making it user-friendly. When completed, it’ll truly be your Bud that looks out for you.
HAVA, the next evolution
- Ang You Shan
- Fariha Ahsan
- Tan Hui Min Grace
- Tanvi Ravindra Thombre