Internet of Things (IoT) Project Ideas: Scratching My Own Itch

Xiaomi's $10 soil moisture monitor can be hacked for solving real problems.
This is my first post from a Raspberry Pi computer. It's weird. Everything feels exactly the same as using my laptop except it's a little slow. Does everything I am asking it to do so far (I will be asking a lot more), so I am not complaining. It's a nice piece of hardware I have to say, a culmination of everthing that's great about COTS and components getting even smaller.

In light of this, I have taken some time to jot down some ideas I have about using IOT as an tool to solve problems that I have. I have, with time, realized that I have a greater probability to complete a project if it helps solve my own problem and not someone else's. I practically have no interest in the cow tracker that I was working on because I don't have the problem of tracking cows. But there are other things that I might solve my issues and as bonus, might solve other people's too.

Here's some ideas:

Forget to water my plants:
Monitor water moisture content in soil, send me information on my phone stating when the moisture level on my plant’s soil is lower than a threshold number

Real life implementation
During SciTrek [HERE], I also got to talk to the local farmers and their complaints about their produce. They claim, and I have no data to back this up, that if appropriate moisture level is maintained in the soil, they will be able to produce could increase by two to three folds with the same plantation. Now, how moisture level can be increased is entirely another question. However, having a system in place to measure the content in the first place would be the primary step towards it. 

Remove some serious manual labor to search and download my podcasts:
I listen to a couple of podcasts and each has a different update day. I want a system that automatically scans the internet, downloads the podcast and then notifies me on my phone. 

Real life implementation
There might be a community of people similar to me who don’t have much understanding of tech but would want such a handy device to be there by their side. 

Checking temperature while brewing:
One of things I noticed while brewing was that I have to keep standing up to check the temperature of the mash/boil and see if it’s in the temperature that I want it to be. A difference in temperature directly affects what beer I am brewing. I want such a device that communicates to me through the wifi to my phone and sends me a report every now and then about the temperature that brewing process is going through.

Real life implementation
Seoul homebrew in Seoul has expressed interest in such devices. If it’s a product that is marketable and compact, there might a few people who could be interested in testing out the product. 

Checking room temperature while fermentation:
Depends on the beer I am brewing but for ales, the yeast I am using is active from 15C to 25C. If the temperature gets lower or higher, there is a chance that either the yeasts will hibernate or just die. Currently, I have a temperature sensor in place but I have to manually go and look at the temperature. I want a daily report sent to me on my phone so that I can closely monitor the progress. 

Real life implementation
Winter can get really cold in Kathmandu during the night, inside the building. If there is some mechanism where a heater and temperature sensor is connected and would automatically turn on the moment the temperature reaches certain threshold, then there are certainly some places where I can test and implement a system like that. To begin with, it’s probably going to be home. 

There you go, some ideas I have at the moment. I will have them documented if I get the chance to build them. I recieved my waterproof temperature sensor and Arduino based WeMos a few days ago. So might have my brewing game upgraded. 

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