The Southwestern University plant growth room in the Fondren-Jones Science Center is used for plant-based research. This room can be inadequate due to its poor ventilation and humidity. In response to this issue, we have built a robotic system that cares for plants and artificially controls specific variables. This system uses an Arduino microcontroller to water the plants when needed by monitoring the humidity of the soil and administering water at a designated humidity value. It
additionally provides light to plants on a cycle of the user’s choosing. We originally created this system to see how these fundamental parts of plant growth can be controlled, and we have further developed our system for use in laboratory classes. Students in the General Chemistry II lab will test the robotic system that was created specifically for use in their yearly spinach-growing experiments. Students will be able to conduct their project without confounding variables and will be introduced to the Arduino code within the plant growth system, thus
broadening the scope of their general education. We are looking into further research about recycled materials and our ability to employ these materials in future systems. We believe this project will provide many avenues for further plant-based research at Southwestern University.