Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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microcontroller agriculture

Use microcontroller system to direct light at your plants all day
  [vote for,

I have plants that I have on my patio and I found that they don't get nearly enough light. I was thinking, why not have a fair sized mirror sitting in direct sunlight which could be mounted on a motor system to direct the sunlight at your plants. It is easy enough to do. You just have to have a small photodetector that you would put either on the plant or in its pot which could feedback, through a microcontroller - perhaps even wirelessly, to tell the mirror it incident light. You could control the direction of the mirror to give the plant full light or even set it so that the plant gets X number of hours of direct sunlight every day. The only problem that I see is that you might end up with light shining, in my case, through your sliding glass door. I have done motor control with PIC processors before, and I think it is fully implementable. The question is, would anyone want it?
covingtong, Jul 27 2005

Apparently this technology exists, but is a secret http://www.garagemirror.com/garden.htm
[DrCurry, Jul 27 2005]


       It would be useful but wouldn't a brief lapse in light due to cloud cover or an obstacle make it freak out a bit?
pooduck, Jul 27 2005

       You wouldn't need a controller - a couple of simple analogue bridges and a couple pairs of LDR would do the job.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jul 27 2005

       A disco ball in the backyard - gets my vote!
DrCurry, Jul 27 2005

       //A disco ball in the backyard - gets my vote// My neighbour has one (don't ask) - drives me mad when it shines into my kitchen.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jul 27 2005

       I actually need to put up a disco-ball in my back garden, so any tips would be most welcome - at the moment, we're considering duct-taping a fishing rod to the roof, providing the extension from which to suspend the ball, while relocating the spool to a more accessible position, thus allowing fine adjustments top be made to the ball's altitude.
zen_tom, Jul 27 2005

       About the "existing" technology: I agree that this will disperse light, but it isn't intelligent about where it puts the light.
covingtong, Jul 27 2005

       Hard to tell, really, until they tell us what they're on about.
DrCurry, Jul 27 2005

       a large seal statue with a disco ball slowly revolving on its nose.   

       couldn't you just manually move the mirrors about from inside the kitchen or is that too boring? train the budgie to do it with a very very large bird vanity mirror.
po, Jul 27 2005

half, Jul 27 2005

       London Docklands Railway
po, Jul 27 2005

       Grow mushrooms.
Basepair, Jul 28 2005

       light detecting resistor, it changes it's resitance depending on how much light falls on it, in contrast to a photodiode which changes how much current it leaks depending on how much light falls on it, but not depending on the voltage applied (within reason of course, no avalanche effect allowed, otherwise you will have an ex-photodiode), or a phototransistor which AFAIK is basically a photodiode hooked between the base and collector of a regular transistor, amplifying the current so the whole shebang is more sensitive.   

       BTW I agree with the controller approach, a little uC isn't really an added expense anymore, especially since you can use off the shelf parts like RC servos or stepper motors, integrate extra features that require time keeping etc. So far I have only ever used AVRs though, since PIC programmers and UV lights to erase the chips and whatnot scared me off.
brewer, Jul 29 2005

       LDR - light-dependent resistor. PICs don't need UV - they are available with FLASH program memory, and a programmer is little more than couple of pins on a parallel port. Servos are still expensive relative to straightforward DC motors.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jul 29 2005


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