ECE Team Receives First Place Honors at Intel-Cornell Cup

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Senior Design Project Automates Plant Cultivation

By Mark Dwortzan

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GrowBox team members Sasha Rosca (CE), Jesse Fordyce (EE), Patrick Crawford (CE), Mark Barrasso (CE) and Ahmed Alfuwaires (EE) display their project at the Intel-Cornell Cup finals.

Selected by ECE alumni judges as this year’s best ECE senior design project, GrowBox uses an iOS app that controls everything a plant needs to grow successfully. Stackable and suitable for small spaces, each unit senses the pH and other key aspects of a solution of water and nutrients, modifies the solution as needed, adjusts water and lighting, and uses image processing to track stages of plant growth so care can be optimized. The purpose of GrowBox is to minimize the time, space, energy and knowledge required to grow a plant, thus giving more people easy access to fresh, home-grown vegetables.

Selected by ECE alumni judges as this year’s best ECE senior design project, GrowBox uses an iOS app that controls everything a plant needs to grow successfully. Stackable and suitable for small spaces, each unit senses the pH and other key aspects of a solution of water and nutrients, modifies the solution as needed, adjusts water and lighting, and uses image processing to track stages of plant growth so care can be optimized. The purpose of GrowBox is to minimize the time, space, energy and knowledge required to grow a plant, thus giving more people easy access to fresh, home-grown vegetables.

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C.A.R.R. team members Jason Tow (CE), Luke Poitras (EE), Jeremy Bensabat (CE), Caroline Wu (EE) and Omar Rana (CE) with their project at the Intel-Cornell Cup finals.

GrowBox competed against highly innovative entries that ranged from the $10,000 Grand Prize winner, an amphibious rover that supports search and discovery of survivors after a disaster, to a 3D-printed, smart prosthetic arm. All projects incorporated the latest Intel Galileo and Atom Development boards and sought to tackle challenges in healthcare, the environment, search and rescue, and other domains.

“The key innovative aspect of the project is the clever use of image processing technology as well as the modular design of the GrowBox,” said Associate Professor of the Practice Alan Pisano (ECE), the lead faculty member for the ECE Senior Design Project course.

“Going forward, we will be doing research as to how to turn our project into a successful business, and the prize money will be very helpful for that process,” said Sasha Rosca (CE), who came up with the idea for the project. The other team members are Ahmed Alfuwaires (EE), Mark Barrasso (CE), Patrick Crawford (CE) and Jesse Fordyce (EE).

Another ECE finalist, Team C.A.R.R. (Cyclist Alert Real-time Response), which notifies drivers of potential collisions with approaching cyclists, received one of seven Second Place awards.

More information about both ECE prizewinning teams is available here.