There will be two main hardware components: the node and the gateway. The node is what interacts with sensors and actuators (valves in this instance) while the gateway aggregate all this information and provides a web-based user-interface. The two devices will communicate via Zigbee, a long-range & low-power wireless protocol.
The node(s) will be based on a basic 8/16 bit microcontroller. This unit will be very low-power and will run off of a 110V wall wart.
The sensors being used in this application will be:
- temperature & humidity sensors for soil & air
- flow meters
The actuators will be:
- solenoid valves
The gateway will be a 32 bit ARM-based Linux box and it will coordinate the Zigbee network, aggregate the data, and display the information to any computer within the local WiFi network through a browser interface. A farmer could see a map of their nodes, monitor their sensor readings, actuate valves in real-time, develop a schedule, and implement logic in response to sensor readings.