Week #16 || Applications and Implications




Before finalizing the design for the final project, there are range of questions to be answered to be able plan the creation of the project. What follows is a general overview of the goals and ideas on how to achieve them.


These questions are now answered before the actual creation of the project, and will be reviewed again in a few weeks with more insights.




1. What will it do?


My project, currently named 'Mykonos', is a kitchen device to facilitate mushroom cultivation. It will hold an innoculated substrate of any desired mushroom, and control the temperature throughout the entire mushroom lifecycle. It is designed to keep the initial moisture levels of the substrate, is sealed from the outside to keep out contaminants, and can create the exact temperature needed for the chosen mushroom at the specific point of its lifecycle.


It has a simple user interface with an LED display showing current and set temperature, which is controlled with two buttons and a few LED lights indicating status.




2. Who's done what beforehand?


Many people have made automated systems for mushrooms cultivation, mainly enthusiasts of halucinogenic mushrooms. A quick search on the popular website Shroomery.org reveiled many smart solutions to integrate temperature control and humidity control in a growing container. Besided many DIY projects, I have found only one commmercially available appliance; The MycoDome, slightly obscure marketing but obviously aimed at growers of halucinogenic mushrooms.


What makes my device different, is the use of a thermoelectric Peltier element, because it allows for both heating and cooling, whereas other machines are just used for heating (halicunogenic species are mostly tropical). Because I use a device that can bring the temperature down to 10 degrees Celcius and up to 30 degrees Celcius, it can be used for a very wide variety of mushrooms. And it is that last fact that sets the project apart from others. My kit can be used for any mushroom, and if successful I hope it will be used by more people than only psychonauts.




3. What materials and components will be required?


The core of the project is a peltier element mounted to a heatsink on the bottom, and a closed aluminium pipe filled with water on the top. The peltier works as a heatpump, creating an extreme temperature difference between its sides. So on one side I need to get rid of heat, and on the other side I need to capture the cold with a thermall mass, and vice versa. Besides this there is an AVR microcontroller, a fan, LED display and buttons in a housing, and another container where the mushrooms will grow. The housing for the electronics will be made of wood in the prototype, and the substrate container will be made of clay or ceramics.


An extended materialls bill will be created after the first prototype has been made.




4. Where will they come from?


The AVR controller is an adaptation to the Barduino, obviously made from components made in Asia. Besides this, the soil for the clay/ceramics will be locally sourced, and the wood as well. The mushrooms to be grown can be both local or imported, as it is an indoor cultivation device there is little risc using foreign species.





5. How much will it cost?


I want to keep the material costs under 50 euros, but can not give detailed information at this point.





6. What parts and systems will be made?


Almost everything will be made from scratch. The aluminium heatsink, thermall mass containing pipe and electronics will be off the shelf materials. The housing for the electronics will be made designed to hold its contents and connect seamlessly to the incubation/fruiting chamber. That chamber/container will be designed entirely in 3D, and printed in clay with the Kuka robot if possible. I will need many small connectors and other parts to ensure the piece is watertight, which will all be 3D printed.


As such, the system itself is entirely designed, and not available as an off the shelf solution. The whole system can me reproduced with the fablab inventory.




7. What processes will be used?


The following processes from Fab Academy will be used in the project:





8. What tasks need to be completed?


Most of the conceptual and 3D design has been finished. It is now time to create a functional prototype.


I still need to physically make everything, starting with the electronics.




9. What questions need to be answered?


The questions that needs answered are mostly about how the device will work and how the mushrooms will react to it. Questions like:


These questions can only be answered by extensive use and testing of the device.




10. What is the schedule?


The prototype will be creating following these steps:





11. How will it be evaluated?


This part is quite simple: