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GROUU - An Open Precision Agriculture Modular System
Previous GROUU Prototype

GROUU is about designing and prototyping a medium for Open Agriculture. It is a Precision Agriculture sensor network and an Irrigation and fertilization system but also a knowledge transfer system, connecting both systems and humans.


I'm attending Fab Academy 2018 as a continuing student. My biggest aim, besides becoming a "certified" Fab Manager, is to use this process to improve some of my personal projects. The most important one right now is GROUU. A new medium proposal for Open Agriculture, through which I’m developing my PhD research. Last year I came up with the idea of turning my first version - A fully automated greenhouse lab (grouu.cc) - into a modular and distributed solution in which sensors and actuators are independent and able to connect as nodes. In most of the assignments I will try to find and develop solutions for this GROUU iteration.

GROUU logo GROUU logo cc-by
W1 - The Project

GROUU is an open source project aimed at creating a new medium for Open Agriculture; Inspired by Fab Academy, it will improve to best fit the idea of being able to be adopted and used by any scale or Agricultural context;
That meant the shift from a fully automated Arduino based Greenhouse, to an modular Object Oriented Hardware Project.

Git Fork Logo cc-by Andrejs Kirma at NOUN PROJECT "Git Fork" cc-by Andrejs Kirma at NOUN PROJECT
W2 - A Very Basic GIT Tutorial

I designed this tutorial to work with my students and have them use Github Classroom. Since it is a “Very Basic GIT Tutorial” I decided to include it here, under a CC License. It is a very Visual and GUI based tutorial. Follow the steps here.

CADdesigns and 3dPrint cc-by André Rocha Fusion360 print screen and actual 3d print
W3 - Diving into Fusion360

I had previous experience with CAD software (from AutoCAD, Alias and Rhino), Parametric software (SolidWorks and OnShape). Fusion360 looked like the next challenge to embrace:

  • it is free for sutdents and educators;
  • it values previous CAD experience;
  • CAM is integrated;
  • It has a very interesting Sculpt mode, deriving directly from the descontinued tSplines plugin for Rhino.

Find out more here.

Press-fit plywood blownglass molds Second Jar (all-rights-reserved photo by Paulo Andrade)
W4 - Laser-Cut Glass Molds Experiences

One of the most curious aspects of 2D cutting solid materials is the exercise of making it a 3d construction. I'm very interested in this idea of generating simple manufacturing tools trough digital fabrication. In this case I've been exploring the use of laser cutting plywood for molds.

Find out more here.

CADdesigns photo credits
W5 - Look Mom, I made my own programmer!!

This work I already finished last year. In fact, Electronics production was a fight I took until the very end. We were producing our electronics on a semi closed/proprietary CNC called carvey

As an educational tool it carves wonders, and we managed to come up with a very simple workaround, which for simple boards like these, works very well.

More about this and next chapters here.

Press-fit plywood blownglass molds photo
W6 - 3d printing from Fusion360 to cura - some experiences

ABS is a nightmare, PLA is really straightforward to use...

Find out more here.

electronics Design - Hello Board! photo credits
W7 - Electronics Design

Forget sudoku or crosswords use board design! Ask your friends for schematics and design rules...

Here is my introduction to it: link.

A small plywood bench for the kids photo
W8 - computer-controlled machining


Find out more here.

embedded programming Embedded Programming photo credits
W9 - Embedded Programming

embedded programming bla bla

embedded programming more here.

molding and casting photo of molding and casting
W10 - Molding and Casting


Find out more here.

input devices input devices photo credits
W11 - Input Devices

input devices bla bla

input devices more here.

output devices photo of output devices
W12 - Output Devices


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interface and application programming interface and application programming credits
W13 - Interface and Application Programming

interface and application programming bla bla

interface and application programming more here.

networking and communications photo of networking and communications
W14 - Networking and Communications


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mechanical design mechanical design credits
W15 - Mechanical Design

mechanical design bla bla

mechanical design programming more here.

machine design photo of machine design
W16 - Machine Design


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applications and implications applications and implications credits
W17 - Applications and Implications

applications and implications bla bla

applications and implications more here.

invention, intellectual property, and income invention, intellectual property, and income
W18 - Invention, Intellectual Property, and Income


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stupid me
About Me

Adjunct Professor at ESELx - IPL and a Senior Product and Interaction designer (Founder at EVOL/LEVO);
Technical Lead at Creative Commons Portugal;
Founder at DAR - an Open Design and Culture Non-profit, where I’m also the Fab Manager at the local Fab Lab;
I’m currently enrolled in the UT Austin | Portugal Digital Media PhD program where I’m researching about Open Agriculture through the design of a new medium (GROUU) which is aimed at Open Agricultural Knowledge generation and transfer.
In the end of 2016 I co-founded the FarmLabs Initiative through which I also develop my Research.
I started my career in 2003 designing products with a group of Artisans in southern Portugal (Alentejo).
Somehow, in the middle of advertising agency work, trade fair stands, big events, design and production discovered arduino, processing, code, and a lot of things I came to admire, explore, use and research with and about.
These experiences led to a balance between two parallel environments where I design, teach and research: the tech/hacking/maker/ DiY/collaborative/open source and the craft product design experiences.