GroTech @ Berkeley is dedicated to providing students with hands-on learning opportunities at the intersection of botany and technology. Every semester, we identify agricultural challenges and assemble interdisciplinary project teams to tackle those problems. In these project teams, students research, design, and build innovative plant growth technologies, enriching their educational journey while meaningfully contributing to society.

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NASA'S GROWING BEYOND EARTH CHALLENGE WINNERS

Our team won Phase One of The Growing Beyond Earth Maker Challenge. This competition challenges makers from high school, college, and professional levels to design, prototype, and eventually build and test plant growth chambers optimized for micro-gravity environments. Each submission is standardized to growing red romaine lettuce; must fit within a 50 cm cube; take into consideration lighting, irrigation, and airflow; and improve upon some aspect of NASA's current plant growth chamber, Veggie.

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2020-2021 PROJECTS

ENERGY-EFFICIENT HYDROPONICS SYSTEM

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in water. This method is water-conservative and high yield, yet it is incredibly inefficient, energy-wise as it consumes incredible amounts of power for LED lights and water/air pumps. Our objective is to design a novel system that reduces energy-waste and draws power from renewable solar energy.

AUTOMATED PLANT PEST COUNTER APP

Greenhouse laboratories, such as UC Berkeley's Oxford Greenhouse, employ yellow sticky traps to monitor and control plant pests. These traps capture hundreds of insects which are laborious to classify and count with the human eye. Our objective is to design an automated plant pest counter mobile app. The user takes a picture of the trap and an algorithm automatically classifies and counts the various pests present.

PLANT SPATIAL ARRANGEMENT

Space and time in our urbanized society have become increasingly scarce, making it difficult to grow fresh food in our communities. By exploring spatial arrangement of plants in conjunction with robotics, we can develop new systems that are space-efficient and low-maintenance.‚Äč

GROWING BEYOND EARTH PHASE TWO

Growing Beyond Earth Phase 2 is the continuation from the first phase of the competition, in which our team had won. We are focusing on growing and maximizing edible lettuce biomass in SeedShuttle, our beloved plant growth chamber. We are also working to make our chamber more environmentally friendly through sustainable plant pots with our sustainability committee.

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