Daily Weblog 9/22/2017

After a long week and long day, I was able to unwind with a nice calm ISR class. Dr Bill will be back with us on Monday which we are all waiting. Today though as no problems arose with the hydroponics it seems I should begin working on the new installations. Plant growth is stellar and the basil plants have almost reached maturity. The others are doing well too but haven't begun to fruit yet. I can only imagine what of the full hydroponic garden will produce when it is ready.


Daily Weblog 9/20/2017

Today I felt like the smartest person in the world for some reason. The flow rate problem with the hydroponics has finally been solved. The solution was two-fold. Step one increase the size of the tertiary outlet by altering the inside of the junction then allow a much water to flow through as possible. The second step was to pinch off the primary outlet with a large pair of the pliers found in the elab. I thought to myself looking at the pliers dangling this is a very Jamaican solution due to its simplicity and its weird looking nature. Plant growth so far is stellar and I am sure we will see the "fruits" of labor soon.


Daily Weblog 9/19/2017

Today in ISR I encountered a problem with the hydroponics systems again. Due to the major root growth of the plants, the volume of the containers has decreased. This means that the overflow problem we have encountered before just got drastically worse. Now every time the pump is on the back container overflows and this means that the reservoir runs out of water very quickly I am afraid the plants will dry out if I am not there all the time to refill it. Also, I substituted the lettuce that was dying due to an unrelated problem with the tomato seedlings given to me by Andrew.


Weekly Weblog 9/16/2017

This week in ISR was focused on maintenance and delving deeper into understand of the universe through physics textbooks. The plant growth seems to be accelerating except for the lettuce which I will remove next class as it has continued wilting since it has been planted in the flood and drain system.The other plants, however, have grown an inch since being placed in the system. The flow of drain is working wonderfully and sounds like a giant fountain. It often surprises passers-by when it turns on automatically.


Daily Weblog 9/13/2017

Today in ISR I continued with hydroponics as well as reading the physics book loaned to me. That book must be about anti gravity because I can't put it down. The Ec for the flood and drain was a bit low at 2.0 so I increased it to 2.5. The plants are showing substantial growth except for the lettuce which I will most likely remove next class. I have attempted reinstalling the vertical systems but the seedlings have not yet developed substantial root systems to be placed in there yet.


Daily Weblog 9/11/2017

Today in ISR Dr. Bill was MIA due to some commitments from the school. Today I transplanted a few of seedlings from the trays indoors to the hydroponics system as they had developed large root systems. The Ec for the flood and drain was also low at 1.5 so I increased to 2.5.The plants seem to be doing well except the lettuce which is wilting, however, I will watch it for a few days then proceed.


Weekly Weblog 9/9/2017

This week in ISR was solely dedicated to Hydroponics. With the flood and drain systems up and running now all, I can do wait for the materials for the first of the drip systems to arrive. I can't wait to see the plants bearing the multicolored tomatoes. For other projects, I want to focus on studying the materials so I can get my amateur radio licence which I can use to not only annoy Sneha but aid her in her radio astronomy.(the space jam dream is still alive and kicking). Other ideas include finishing the physics book loaned to me and maybe moving on to a deeper understanding of quantum physics then to Feinman's work.


Daily Weblog 9/08/2017

So the today in ISR was spent touching up the hydroponics system. After adjusting the flow rate once again and moving the entire setup twelve feet to the left to allow the plants more sun we can finally begin the countdown to our first harvest.( Thanks again to Dan for helping me the heavy lifting.) Also, the Ec was bit low due to spillage so I brought it up to a healthy 2.5.


Daily Weblog 9/07/2017

Today in ISR most of my endeavors involved maintenance of the hydroponics systems. After several iterations were scrapped the overflow problem with hydroponics with the use of some clever PVC alterations including the additions of t junctions to the tubing and elbow joints to the pipes. The ingenious idea of using of using a pair of pliers to limit the water flow. After quite a bit, the soaking the elab the problem was solved and we can move on after the plants were finally put in today.


Daily Weblog 9/05/2017

Wow quite a productive day in ISR for hydroponics. Dr. Bill got me the new plants as well as some purple tomato seedlings which I placed in the trays with the others. The seedlings a planted are showing promising growth which is a great sign. For the flood and drain system, we set up two in series today which we will place in parallel next class with the use of a T junction tubing. Fixing the trays so that they drained into each other proved challenging but it was solved with the use of a PVC elbow.

1 comment

Weekly Weblog 9/02/2017

This week in ISR focused mainly on the germination of seedlings for the next round of hydroponics. Andrew has promised me a variety of tomato plants or out new drip installation and I have planted a variety of low height crops for our flood and drain systems. A lot of time this week was spent cleaning the remains of the last attempt however bug infested.


Daily Weblog 8/31/2017

Today in ISR was not the most productive in terms of hydroponics as I am still waiting on a critical mass of the seedlings to develop full root systems. However, in terms of learning, I continued to peruse the text loaned to me and was able to discuss gluon particles with Briana. I learned that their name is not for naught as they are the glue that holds things togeather.


Daily Weblog 8/29/2017

Today in ISR I planned the future of the hydroponics project with Andrew. We would attempt a new bucket method with a drip system for tomato plants. Special thanks to Andrew for providing new multi coloured tomato seedlings for us to begin with. To start we have five buckets and will do five installations along the wall near the monlab. I also requested some basil plants from Dr Bill to add to a fill and drain setup in addition to the lettuce.


Daily Weblog 8/28/2017

Today in ISR I did a bit of spring cleaning in late August. The remnants of the old crops and installations have been removed and cleaned. The parts for the new fill and drain system have been set up and cleaned. Seedlings have been planted and some have germinated. Special thanks to the drone team who were a big help today in removing the majority of the mess leftover from last year.


Weekly Weblog 26/09/2017

The first week in ISR has come to its conclusion. This week has been a mixed bag for projects. On the hydroponics front, progress has been made with a new set of seedlings planted for the flood and drain systems. `i have also been drying tomatoes from the old installation for seeds. I have also been following Briana Ryan's Project on Quarks. It so happened that I came to borrow an extremely interesting physics text that describes topics from quantum theory to general relativity in amazing detail and clarity. Pictures pending due to iPhone problems.


Daily Weblog 8/24/2017

Today in ISR all I had to do regarding hydroponics was to water the seedlings and hope they germinate. I also aligned myself with Briana's quatum physics proposal regarding quarks. Zoey mad a very interesting joke about the 3 body problem when this was mentioned. I also was rewarded with a very interteting physics text book from Dr. Bill. The text has excellent explanations of topics of the harder topics in physics such as relativity. It also includes amzing and clear diagrams that act as visual aid to these explanations.


Daily Weblog 8/22/2017

Today in ISR I began reviving the hydroponics project as last year the tomatoes grew too large and collapse the tower. We have found that the best method is the fill and drain method which we used for lettuce last year but can be modified to grow all other types. This year I hope to pass on the project and attempt a more astrophysics type curriculum. I have begun this by trying to secure a Cubesat for the school which could be launched on a NASA rocket to become a short term low orbit satellite. Plants that will be grown this year include tomatoes,squash, peas and lettuce. Based on the last time period there should be results by January. I set up more seedlings today which will be come the future crop. Around 24 have been planted and I after ading fertilzier to the pots i hope they flourish in the newly reinvigorated soil.


Daily Weblog 8/21/2017

First official day back in ISR. Information overload with all the new projects available. Still struggling with learning all the new names and projects but it will come with time. Established potential projects with me are a potential Cube Sat, restoring the hydroponics fill and drain installation or building the robotic armature for the chess project. Other less specific projects over long term include NASA and astronomy work as well as rebuilding a 3D printer. Also I unpacked $27000 dollars worth of laser cutter today which will be a welcome addition to the elab. Hopefully it will be useful in many projects and combined with the 3D printers will make a wonderful asset to the elab.


Proposal 8/17/2017


The purpose of my project is twofold: My major project is to continue the hydroponics automation project started this year and the other is to integrate software and robotics by creating a chess program that utilizes machine learning.

Introduction and Goals:

The hydroponics automation is an extension of the sustainable housing research and development I created last year. The goals are to continue the development of sustainable housing and to create a second hydroponic installation for the elab which will be specific to certain crops. This project is based on my desire to stop the ongoing energy, housing and agricultural crisis in my home country of Jamaica. The other project I have started was based on my desire to improve at chess. The problem today with chess computers is that they play like a computer however my program with the integration of machine learning will adopt my own playstyle and become the best chess player I could theoretically be.

Implementation and challenges:

The second installation of the the hydroponics will be almost the same as the first. Large hollow PVC towers and wooden pallets are the foundation of each installation which are based on three methods: Kraty or horizontal method, vertical or tower method and flood and drain method. Each of them work with a five gallon water supply and a pump (except for the Kratky). The main challenges of this project are growth of fungus on the plants and death of seedlings ( can be circumvented with the use of pre purchased seedlings instead of growing them from seeds.) as well as the rat lungworm disease which can make a crop completely inedible. Also weather due to Waimea’s heavy winds can knock over the larger plants with extended branches and leaves. The chess project is based on the Stockfish engine which is opened sourced and can be edited in C++ and will run on a Raspberry Pi. The motorized armature will be 3D printed and will be attached to a chessboard as well as able to play without internet connection. The challenges in this project are due to my coding limitation as my major experience is with Python as well as the integration of machine learning with the Tensor flow program. This requires me to continually play against the engine in order to teach it my playstyle and have it retain it for future matches.

Impact and Legacy:

The hydroponics installations will remain at the elab and will be continually use for future classes as by the end of the year it will be completely automated and will require very little human input other than to add additional seedlings and follow the instructions given by the computer. The project will also be able to feed more and more people as the crops improve and more installations are added. The chess project will remain in the elab to challenge anyone who wishes to test the abilities in chess. The hope is have chess tournaments in the elab with the sole opponent being the computer so that it can continually learn new styles and get better.

Resources and Possible costs:

3D printed armature- from printer in elab.

A possible 3 motors for joints on the armature

New seedlings for the hydroponics

Nutrients and Ph regulators.

Raspberry Pi

Additional PVC towers


Oliver Grayson

Tommy Truong

Sneha Nair


Final Weblog 5/19/2017

For the final weblog of this year I would just like to thank B period ISR ex]spcecailly Dr Bill for the amazing opportunities I have been given.This year I was able to learn to code in C++, solder circuit boards togeather wire radios and interact with NASA. The year started with my sustainable housing project but due difficulties in getting the container on campus it was put on the back burner. The next two projects I was involved in was remaking the JOVE radio telescope with Sneha and building the hydroponics installations. The final project was designing a chess program that can play like a human and is able to play on physical chess board using a robotic armature.