Hello! I'm competing on an entrepreneurship event and I have this idea to make a small, very easy to use, automated hydroponic system, that people can buy and put on their apartment with little effort. I have 3 weeks to make a prototype, and the only thing I know is computer science and I have an arduino! My friend that studies biology will be in my group, and I want to ask for ideas of a small prototype and how the prototype would work. The thing I have in mind is a very small system that holds itself on the floor, and you can grow just a couple plants. I have little idea how the water pump would work.
We're both 20, very excited and determined.
I'd encourage you to contact Main Street. They're gurus. Email them.
I've been evaluating the designs for hydroponics on the http://www.spacebuckets.com/ site. "Space Buckets" sounds kind of crazy but there is a lot of very modular/portable/efficient/space-effective designs being iterated there. On the topic of controlling water flow, "solenoid valve" is the keyword. Different valves run on different voltages which would require different "relays" that run a matching voltage. Lots of wiring required there. But I must say, I crave a plug and play solenoid valve. Ever heard of Universal Serial Bus (USB)? Solenoid manufacturers haven't ;-). There might be a market there.
Some more inspiration over at Grove Labs -> https://grovelabs.io/