Solar Sunflower

Solar sunflowers are sensors that monitor green infrastructure at Philadelphia schoolyards and provide environmental data for maintenance and education.

PWD and Code For America are collaborating to build a prototype of a "solar sunflower" - a solar-powered, sunflower-shaped sensor that mines environmental data from rain gardens and other stormwater management projects installed in green playgrounds. The solar sunflower can measure soil moisture, temperature, sunlight, rainfall, etc. and transmit real-time data over a wifi signal to a web page, where students and citizens can monitor the health and performance of a rain garden.

If the soil becomes too dry, the sunflower can light up an LED display to let students know that their rain garden needs watering. It can even have its own Twitter account, where it posts messages about how the rain garden is doing. The electronic components are low-cost, do-it-yourself parts available at Radio Shack. The solar sunflower provides many opportunities to engage students in STEM learning, and the sunflower design is only a prototype - students can design, build and decorate their own housing for the sensor system.

The School District of Philadelphia has offered to provide a wifi network at a school site for this pilot program.

Visit our Code For Philly project page.

Learn more about rain gardens.

View the real-time data demo site (work in progress).

 

Location: Greenfield Elementary School

 

WATER ME!

This sensor is in Plant Zone 3. The rain garden should be watered when VWC is less than 20%.

Learn more about the plant species in this zone.

 

 

Soil Moisture

Recent Readings

April 11, 2013 10:45 AM
Sensor A (Depth: 0.5 ft): 20.5%
Sensor B (Depth 1.0 ft): 18.0%
Sensor C (Depth 1.5 ft): 14.5%

April 11, 2013 10:45 AM
Sensor A (Depth: 0.5 ft): 20.5%
Sensor B (Depth 1.0 ft): 18.0%
Sensor C (Depth 1.5 ft): 14.5%

April 11, 2013 10:45 AM
Sensor A (Depth: 0.5 ft): 20.5%
Sensor B (Depth 1.0 ft): 18.0%
Sensor C (Depth 1.5 ft): 14.5%

Download data: Excel Text File

Temperature

Recent Readings

April 11, 2013 10:45 AM
72 deg F

April 11, 2013 10:45 AM
72 deg F

April 11, 2013 10:45 AM
72 deg F

April 11, 2013 10:45 AM
72 deg F

April 11, 2013 10:45 AM
72 deg F

April 11, 2013 10:45 AM
72 deg F

Download data: Excel Text file

               Sensor Network Map

 

Precipitation

 

    Sunlight