Portland-area electronics engineer and part-time inventor Cory Potter got a major surprise recently when he learned his invention, an automated hydroponic garden control system, was selected as one of ten American semi-finalists to attend the “Co-making the Future – China-US Young Maker Competition” in Beijing, China in August of this year. The annual competition, sponsored by the Chinese Ministry of Education and organized by Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange, Tsinghua University, Intel Corporation, and Beijing Gehua Cultural Development Group, is a joint effort between China and the United States to foster sustainable and innovative projects that solve real world problems.
“I was completely shocked when I learned I had been selected,” said Potter. “At first, I didn’t really believe it could be true.” Potter’s project, which he calls hydroMazing, was built from the ground up using open-source hardware and was originally intended as a personal project. “I’m personally interested in hydroponic gardening and also love electronics. An automated garden system seemed like a great opportunity to bring the two together.” The hydroMazing system, according to Potter, is designed so that anyone can successfully grow plants hydroponically, regardless of experience or skill level.
By using open source hardware and software he wrote himself, Potter explained, he has been able to keep the cost of the system to a minimum, making it accessible to more people who might not be able to afford a more expensive and complicated set up. “I think everyone, regardless of income or experience, should have the chance to grow healthy, thriving plants wherever they want,” Potter said. He and his team will travel to Beijing, China to present the project to an international panel of judges and compete for cash prizes against ten US and several Chinese teams.
Potter says any award money will go towards building up his garden automation consulting business, CoreConduit Consulting. “I’m mostly interested in helping people find sustainable solutions for their gardening needs,” Potter explained. “It’s more about showing people how easy and successful hydroponic gardening can be. But if I can help make the world a better place, that’s an even greater honor.” For more information, please visit www.coreconduit.com
Image Credits: R. Crenshaw