In Winter 2016 our team competed in the annual Makeathon event on North campus and created an example in-home aquaponics spice rack. In one weekend of work, our team designed and built an aquaponics system that was intended to be housed in a customer’s kitchen. This design needed to be both aesthetically pleasing and functional for our team to win the competition. We chose to try a nutrient film technique system, which was our first attempt this type of system. After construction we found that the flow rate would need to be higher, or the roots of the plants would need to be lowered to have effective contact with the nutrient rich water. In our next iterations of this in home design, we hope to make a few fixes to have better results in growing the spices.
The completed Makeathon system
The system was built in the Art and Architecture building in under 36 hours.
We created several Michigan Aquaponics stencils to enhance the aesthetics of our in-home system
MAqua members Eric, Michael, Rosemary, Beatrice, and Fauna take a break from construction of the system.
Eric and Michael add in the fish to our finished system
The theme of the 2017 Makeathon competition was “Campus of the Future.” As Aquaponics is still a developing technology, this was an area where our team could create an innovative design. Team members Wendy, Eric, Riley, Meagan, Rosemary, and Garrett helped create a design that focused on mobility and compactness in a future where space is limited. The final design was a square bookshelf design with wheels. In addition to the storage area for books, there was another compartment to store the fishtank. The prototype tank was created using acrylic, utilizing a PVC piping system to allow plant life to grow above the fishtank level. For this competition we won the Socially Engaged Design Award.
Since the 2017 Makeathon, we’ve made numerous innovations, including making the design more modular therefore making it easier to construct, deconstruct, and add onto our initial design. We’ve created two layers for plants to grow, taking advantage of height instead of width. With the addition of our wheels, this added advantage gives plant lovers an easier way to raise more plants while not having to worry about space or mobility.