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what is this?

Tomatos are amongst the fastest growing plans we know. So, wouldn't it e cool to be able to follow the process in almost real time? When I was graciously given a tomato plant (thank you, Anni) that idea came to mind: why not build a tomato timelapse rig - and this is the result.

The rig features
Thanks to Microsoft .NET gadgeteer designing and building the thing took less than five hours.

how does it work?

Hardware

The whole thing is powered by Microsoft .NET gadgeteer. A FEZ Spider mainboard is attached to the back of the rig and connected to all other components using the Gadgeteer-typical ribbon cables. On the top panel, four multi-color LEDs surround the camera. At the bottom of the rig, the USB client module - for power and the ethernet model, share the same mounting hole. The irrigation sensor is not shown in the CAD drawing, but can be seen in the photo. It has not attachment to the rig and is directly placed in the soil of the plant.

Software

The software on running on the Gadgeteer hardware will take a photo and sensor reading every ten minutes. This data is then uploaded to a server via HTTP. On the server side is a simple PHP script, that takes the raw POST data - which is the BMP image of the camera - and saves it in a file. The sensor reading is transmitted as GET parameter and stored in a seperate file alongside the image.

how can I build my own?

You'll need two things to build one of these: the Gadgeteer modules and access to a laser-cutter.

As for the Gadgeteer modules, you will need:
The project source code can be downloaded below. This package includes the Gadgeteer sources, server-side PHP file and DXF file for the laser-cutter. In case you don't have access to a laser-cutter, you also have Ponoko cut it for you. Just make sure you use a 6mm strong material or change the layout.

Download the sources here or as zip file.