Bloombot is an personal automated hydroponic growing system. I entered it, with help from others in the Tufts Robotics Club, in the RICC Competition (Robotics Innovations Competition and Conference) at Worcester Polytechnic Institue. The theme of the competition was to develop innovative robotic solutions to improve people's quality of life. My goal was to create a system that made growing plants and herbs in the home throughout the year easier.
Bloombot uses a method of hydroponics called deep water culture in which the plant roots are suspended in a highly oxygenated nutrient solution. This allows for a highly efficient transfer of nutrients directly from the water solution to the roots.
The system features a number of sensors which detect water level and light intensity. The whole system is controlled over the internet via Twitter such that a user can simply tweet @Bloombot to turn the lights or pump on or off. Bloombot will also send a tweet if it detects a change in its state (e.g., one of the lights went out unexpectedly or the water level dropped below a certain level).