Plant Ladder System; Peer-to-Peer Variable Service Transaction; Parenting: Past, Present, Future

Aggarwal, Sonia, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Seabrook, Bryn, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Rogers, Hannah, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Powell, Harry, EN-Elec/Computer Engr Dept, University of Virginia
Doryab, Afsaneh, EN-Eng Sys and Environment, University of Virginia

Technology is booming and amid the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020, when the world was put into lockdown, the reliance on technology became crucial and more prominent than ever before. As a student without any access to a garden, without a car for groceries or deliveries, with a nine-year-old little brother who I helped raise, I was curious how I could use technology to enhance my daily life stuck at home. I have seen firsthand how important it is to have greenery and plant life to improve one’s mental health and mood. I know the lack of communication and engagement in the UVA community now has taken its toll on students. And lastly, I am well aware of the struggle of balancing using technology with a child, as I watched my parents raise my brother. But this only fueled the need for innovation and research. And as such, culminated into three theses that have in some way touched my life.
The first technical thesis overviews on the process of semi-automating the care of plants, specifically water time and amount. Currently, methods of doing so automatically are expensive, time consuming or both. This project was designed to be placed in any busy person’s home today. There are two parts to this project: the physical water dispenser system and the mobile application. The soil moisture sensors would detect when the soil was within a range considered “dry” or “moist”. This data is then sent to the application and a marker is placed on a graph. The graph would display the watering times and amounts over the life of the plant in question. This application was built specifically for Android users only. After successful trials of our prototype, the team discussed ways to scale our device to include devices outside of the Android ecosystem and scale down the size of the water dispenser system.
The second technical thesis overviews an automated way to allow people to help one another, with minimal effort. Peer-to-Peer Variable Service Transaction (P2P-VST) systems make it simple for people to give their time to others in exchange for the same courtesy later. The problem is, such services are not easily found. Thus, an application for users to exchange their time, called Hamlet, was proposed. This application was developed by evaluating how recommending service requests targeted at a person’s context impacts their willingness to enter a transaction. Preliminary research has shown that even though people have not actively volunteered for a service, they are influenced by convenience.
The STS thesis will explore a broad, social topic specifically to analyze the use of technology by parents and their children. Especially amongst parents who come from traditional households, such as second-generation millennials compared to their American counterparts. This specific subset of parents is surrounded by a constant stream of information because of the emergence of cell phones, laptops, tablets, etc. This thesis explores how parents have handled the shift, in both their physical use of technology and their internal mindset or ideals, surrounding technology have affected their child rearing practices, since the pandemic in 2020 and 2021.
In this portfolio, the reader can expect to learn the reasons and applications for an automated plant farming system, and how to build it for less than five hundred dollars. Additionally, the reader will understand the importance of researching community behavior and how computer science (i.e., mobile application development) can facilitate said research. And lastly, the reader will gain insight into how an unexpected global pandemic can force parents into becoming flexible, resourceful, and kind to their children’s development, but more importantly to themselves.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
second generation millennial, automated planting system, parenting, peer to peer transactions
Issued Date: