ALP – Plant Factory 凯旋!

16 Jul

Hi!

This is Yam Huo from the Plant Factory theme and we have embarked on our next phase back in IDI, ZJU, Hangzhou.

However, before we rush ahead, let me just do a little reminiscing of what happened for us during the previous phase over at Changxing (长兴). I’ve not included many photos this time, as Scott has uploaded many photos and done a wonderful job for his previous blogpost.

We started off with designing and conducting our experiments from scratch, and we are now continuing our experiments back in Hangzhou. Indeed, it was not an easy feat dismantling, transporting and fixing these 24 boxes up again. However, it is gratifying when we observe the results which tallied with our hypothesis.

With regard to the product development process, we did our market research, customer analysis, business model development, ideas sketching, Arduino and Processing programming. We also came up with the final renderings of our designs via Rhino, Keyshot and Photoshop.

On top of this, we have had our fair share of farm life. Take a look at our daily check-list: spraying pesticides, picking out caterpillars, watering the crops, weeding, battling the fiercest beetles, centipedes or spiders that we can find, playing with kittens and a really adorable pup, Ah Biao.

Ah Biao!

Ah Biao!

One of the most memorable experiences was that of plucking Chinese Bayberries (杨梅) off the trees. Chinese Bayberries became my favourite fruits when I first tried them in Hangzhou; they simply held my tongue captive . But these wild ones, they were nasty. They were so sour they could make the bravest souls cringe. However, we, members of the Plant Factory team, were made of tougher stuff. The low-lying fruits were few and far between and most of them were out of our reach. Nevertheless, we had brains and piggybacked one another to reach greater heights. And, that moment of ingenuity was shattered when we saw two villagers beside us using a ladder.

The low-lying fruits!

The low-lying fruits!

Jiasheng preparing to catch the falling bayberries.

Jiasheng preparing to catch the falling bayberries.

We caught loads of snails, clams, and lobsters from the streams in the farm and had a lobster and escargot feast on our dinner tables the following day. We also harvested cherry tomatoes and the vegetables which we grew from day one. They were indeed delicious to say the least. It might have been the placebo effect, but we reaped what we sowed and this was fulfilling in itself.

Planted, Nurtured and Blossomed

Planted, Nurtured and Blossomed

Escargots and Clams feast!

Escargots and Clams feast!

Rows upon rows of vegetables.

Rows upon rows of vegetables.

Ripe for harvesting!

Ripe for harvesting!

Of course, one of the highlights of the trip was when Ms. Corinna and Ms. Deborah paid us a visit at the farm. It was really thoughtful of them to travel all the way and meet up with us. It was great to see some familiar faces again!

In addition to working really hard, we do know about playing hard as well. We had a little break last week and we headed over to Shanghai, Suzhou, Beijing and more. Personally, I just came off a 24 hours train ride from Shaolin Temple and  Ping Yao (平遥古镇), which is one of the best preserved ancient cities in the world with a history dating back 2700 years ago.  And, we came back to really good news: our team’s featured in The Straits Times and Zao Bao!

We were featured!

We were featured!

We have just had a presentation and interaction session with 应老师, who’s really one of the coolest Chinese Profs we have met around here. Looking ahead, we will now need to do a final consolidation of our ideas, prototyping and eventually an exhibition. Perhaps, by then, more of us will understand why Plant Factory may change and better our world.

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