Thursday 03 November 2022

Digital Technologies Win Competition

The popularity of the ‘Maker Movement’ has revitalised the involvement of hobbyists and entrepreneurs in DIY technology solutions. The combination of powerful, inexpensive computing devices and open-source software means that sophisticated solutions can be made in a short period of time by anyone. The far-reaching nature of the internet means that ideas are freely circulating amongst people at far-flung locations, with common goals.

A team of Year 7 students entered a competition IoT into the Wild Contest for Sustainable Planet using emerging technologies to create solutions to real-world problems. The ‘Internet of Things’ is built on the idea of devices talking to other devices across the internet, and the competition focused on how we can extend these capabilities to remote areas, by using a new long-range WiFi technology.

The theme considered five challenges relating to issues including climate change, sustainability and food production.

Our FarmBOX ( is an automated system that monitors farms, provides water to crops when needed, and notifies the farmer when the fruit is ready to pick.

The technologies we explored included:

  • Single-board computers and microcontrollers
  • Sensors for temperature, humidity, soil moisture
  • Image recognition
  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
  • Long-range wireless communications (LoRaWAN)
  • Android app development
  • Programming in Python and C++

A team of Year 7 students Michael, Alister, Riley, Leon, Luca, Harvey and Robbie met regularly during Term 3 to learn more about these technologies.

In a competition open to anyone, our team were one of 27 award winners from over a hundred submissions. We won an award recognising our use of long-range wireless networking. This is an impressive result and we are looking forward to seeing what our students come up with next!

Richard Fox and Shae Warren – Digital Technology teachers

FarmBOX was an Ivanhoe Grammar Student team entry for the SeeeD IoT Into the Wild Contest for Sustainable Planet 2022 that was awarded the Helium award within the competition. FarmBOX is a Raspberry Pi powered IoT device designed to enable AI-powered sustainable monitoring and growing of plants. FarmBOX has sustainable and advantageous applications for both everyday consumers and agricultural Farmers. The main features of FarmBOX are the ability to automatically adjust plant watering based on sensor readings and the ability to run an AI model to send alerts regarding plant ripeness and overall plant health. An Android app is used to configure and control the FarmBOX device.

Working together with the Ivanhoe student team was an amazing experience, and it enabled us to develop many new skills. Firstly, creating this project with an awesome team enabled us to apply our skills towards a real-world project, which was very engaging. The team brought a variety of different skill sets to the project, e.g. programming, graphic design, UI Design, research and presentation skills. The best thing about working on FarmBOX was that we were able to further develop our skills together by sharing knowledge and by learning from each other. I also believe that this project has helped us all develop our overall teamwork skills, as it was great fun working in a team and discovering many different ways to collaborate and solve problems with real-world applications.

Personally, I was able to improve my UI Design skills by learning from some of my friends and my teacher mentors who were all very artistic. It was also great to share my knowledge about programming and Linux with the team, and I felt that we all got something rewarding from our involvement with FarmBOX. Throughout all the hours of program rewrites, testing, fixing bugs and finding so many pictures of tomatoes to train our AI (thanks everyone for bearing with me there!), it spurred us on to keep persevering and refining when we saw our project finally working and coming to fruition. Overall, FarmBOX was a very challenging but rewarding experience. I would be very excited to be involved in another project like this in the coming year as we have refined our skills and are ready for another challenge!

Year 7 student Michael