Azule is a wireless smart watering system that we created for our graduate product design course.  It is designed to connect inline with a standard garden hose and above-ground sprinkler.  The valve interfaces with the existing home WiFi network as well as with a wireless moisture sensor.  The moisture sensor is placed in the watering area and monitors soil moisture to prevent over-watering.  The Azule system gives the user the ability to schedule watering times that work best (at night, early morning, etc.) as well as flow control to optimize the sprinkler for a given watering area.  Flow control also makes it easy to turn the sprinkler off for re-positioning and retrieval.  These features can be accessed and controlled using a mobile device connected to the local wireless network.  Below is a video that explains Azule in more detail.


 

Prototypes from various stages in the design process are shown above, including the final functional prototype.  I led the development of the wire moisture sensor and did most of the CAD modeling and prototyping of the sensor housing, as well as preliminary sensor exploration.  We went through many designs before we found the one that fit the functional and aesthetic requirements.  With each major design change we created a prototype, most of which were 3D printed.  The final moisture sensor prototype is shown alongside the controller unit.  The ergonomic handle houses four AAA batteries and the circuitry for the sensor and wireless connection while maintaining a low profile and simple operation.

The purpose of this project was to create a product development process as we designed a useful product.  We started the opportunity development stage by searching for problems.  We found that although there are several smart sprinkler controllers available for in-ground systems, there were limited options for above ground sprinklers (mainly limited to simple timers).  We then moved on to architecture development, in which we defined the subsystem requirements.  We designed the individual subsystems and then brought them together as we refined the system.  Our final deliverables were a functional prototype, a video, and a transferable design packet.