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Kitronik launches BBC Micro:bit compatible smart greenhouse kit

22 January 2021

The company’s new STEM project kit for the BBC Micro:bit takes cress digital and provides an innovative D&T/coding activity for young people learning from home during the pandemic.

We all remember the fun of growing cress at school and now Kitronik has brought this into the 21st century with the launch of its BBC micro:bit  V1 and V2 compatible Smart Greenhouse Kit. 

The Kitronik Smart Greenhouse Kit for the BBC micro:bit provides an exciting way to learn about the relationship between plants and their environment and to build a fully automated growing system. By growing plants within the smart greenhouse, the user can code the system to monitor and automatically water them, thus ensuring a perfect crop! By building these automated systems, the user will also be learning how to monitor and modify the environmental growing conditions. A far cry from yoghurt pots on a window sill! 

Although the kit was originally aimed at teachers and students, it will also make an ideal activity for those who wish to undertake a STEM project during lockdown and will appeal to parents wishing to support their children’s home learning with an engaging activity. The kit comes with detailed assembly and coding instructions that will get users up and coding in no time! 

Included in the kit is a two-part plastic greenhouse, the Kitronik environmental control board, water pump, Kitronik ZIP Stick and a Mini Prong soil moisture sensor. Also included are five crocodile clips, ZIP extension cable and a small screwdriver. All that’s left to do is add a BBC micro:bit, seeds and water! 

With the tutorials provided, the kit teaches users to create the code in MakeCode so they can monitor environmental conditions and then build automated systems that react to them. The seven online MakeCode tutorials  build in complexity and cover everything from gathering sensor data and having the system automatically react to it, to visual user interfaces. It is recommended that users complete the tutorials in order gain the best learning experience. 

At the heart of the micro:bit controlled Kitronik Smart Greenhouse Kit is the Kitronik environmental control board. This board provides a variety of sensor inputs and connection points for the BBC micro:bit (V1 & V2) and provides the ability to control outputs for devices such as a water pump, fan, servo or heater pad. This makes it ideal for feedback control systems, such as the smart greenhouse kit.

The environmental control board can be coded with the MakeCode editor and Kitronik have produced a set of custom blocks to make the job as simple as possible. 

Kevin Spurr, Kitronik Co-Founder and Director comments: “We have had a lot of fun developing this kit and taking the growth of cress digital! We are sure everyone will love cultivating their crops and that the kit will provide an engaging way for users to develop their skills and understanding across a range of subject areas. With the UK currently in lockdown, it could also be a great project for parents and young people to do together…and parents can enjoy the fact they will not have yoghurt pots full of cress taking up space on the kitchen window sill!” 

Further information and a video about the Smart Greenhouse is available HERE. Prices start at £30.

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