POWAR - Plant Observatory of Weather Adaptability for Resiliency – SCOPES-DF

Lesson Details

Fab-Safety.1, Fab-Modeling.1, Fab-Fabrication.1, Fab-Design.1, Fab-Electronics.2, Fab-Modeling.2, Fab-Programming.3, Fab-Electronics.3
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Pablo Zuloaga
Pablo Zuloaga
Award-winning Colombian Creative Director, University Professor and Audiovisual Producer, with a MA in Design for Emergent Futures, based in Barcelona. With more than 15 years creating ideas, campaigns, products, services, and Innovations for brands and NGOs around the globe, Pablo… Read More



(Plant Observatory of Weather Adaptability for Resiliency)


If climate predictions already tell us that London might have a weather similar to Barcelona, how might that affect the way we grow and produce food in the future?


POWAR is a DIY, open source climate simulation box for kids to build at home or school, and experiment about how weather and climate change affects the plants we grow nowadays, in different weather conditions.


This Box can connect to a Weather API, and simulate inside of it desired weather conditions like amount of sunlight, water and temperature from a desired city in the world.


It can also be set to try and test any conditions you want to experiment with. What would happen if we would have sun 24h a day or just 2h? or what would happen if we would have less or more rain? More or less temperature? What can we grow under certain conditions? What can we grow in our cities or towns in the future?


POWAR works as a STEAM educational toy, since kids can design it, code it, build it, design or modify the electronics, test with different plants, learn about climate change, biology, electronics, physics, math, design and fabrication tools.


It is perfect for kids from K4 – K12 students (even when it works for everyone) since small kids could just learn from designing plant or biology experiments in an ready built POWAR, while bigger kids could build it from scratch or even modify it as they wish… the imagination is the limit.


* This project is still under development.

I´m still finishing in the electronics and digital networking interface.


What You'll Need



The idea is that POWAR can be as difficult or easy to ensamble as we want, depending on the skills that are wanted to be teach and difficulty level or age of the kids.


People could build and program everything from scratch, or buy t pre-assembled so that they just have to build it and configure it.





– CNC Cutter.

– 3D Printer.

– Laser Cutter.

– PCB Milling.

– Soldering station and materials.

– Basic tools (screwdrivers, hammer, mullet, sandpaper, nails, screws, drill, meter)




– Plywood Sheet (2000 x 1200 x 9 mm)

– Acrylic Sheet (600 x 400 x 5 mm)

– 4 x 3D printed “L” supports.

– 4 x 5mm screws

– Sandpaper (sanding machine)

– Wood Varnish

– Varnishing Brush

– Rubber Mullet

– 260x260x100 (or smaller IKEA plastic container or Tupper) 




 + BARDUINO V2.2 (FabLab Barcelona)

 – 1 x ESP32-WROOM

 – 1 x SOT- 223 (Regulator)

 – 1 x FTDI SSOP-16 USB to UART

 – 1 x PINHD-1×09-HEADER (male)

 – 1 x PINHD-1×13-HEADER (male)

 – 1 x PINHD-1×12-HEADER (male)

 – 2 x CAP 10pF

 – 1 x CAP 1uF

 – 1 x DIO SOD-81

 – 1 x Red Led

 – 1 x RES 10k Ohms

 – 2 x RES 49 Ohms

 – 1 x RES 220 Ohms

 – 2 x RES 490 Ohms

 – 1 x Slider Switch (AYZ0102AGRLC)

 – 1 x 6mm button switch

 – 1 x USB Micro Port

 – 1 x DIO SOD-123


*** The POWAR shield could be modified to work with a NODE MCU – ESP 32 ***



 – 1 x CAP 1000uF

 – 1 x CAP 10uF

 – 2 x DIO – SOD-81

 – 1 x Barrel Jack Connector

 – 1 x USB MINIB

 – 1 x PINHD-1×09-HEADER (female)

 – 1 x PINHD-1×13-HEADER (female)

 – 1 x PINHD-1×12-HEADER (female)

 – 4 x PINHD-1×03-HEADER (female)

 – 1 x PINHD-1×02-HEADER (male)

 – 2 x 3.5mm term (1×2)

 – 1 x RES 470 Ohms

 – 2 x RES 10K Ohms

 – 3 x RES 0 ohms (circuit bridge)

 – 2 x NMOSFET SOT-23

 – 1 x MINI USB

 – 1 x BUCK_MP1584EN


 + INPUTS (sensors):

 – DHT22/DHT11 (Temperature and Humidity sensor).

 – Capacitive Soils Moisture Sensor.

 – LDR (light sensor)


 + OUTPUTS (actuators):

 – NeoPixel RGB Led Strip (30 leds)

 – 5V / 12V Fan

 – 3.5V / 12V Sumergible Water Pump


 + POWER SOURCE (5V and 12V options):

 – 5V Mini USB cable.

 – 12V Power Supply



The interface is created in NODE-RED and it can be ran in a Raspberry Pi or a computer. One server can run several machines.

Lesson Materials

The Instructions

CNC Cutter - Cutting the structure

In this step you are going to download the Open Source CAD files, and cut them on Your CNC. For more basic experimentation, this could also be made inside of a cardboard box, but the resistance is not going to be the same (specially because of the possibility of humidity inside) and it is also going to be less sturdy because of the thickness.


CNC cutter

Plywood Sheet (2000 x 1200 x 9 mm)

Rubber Mallet



Wood Varnish


The POWAR main box, is designed with press fit joints, so that it doesn’t needs any nails to be attached, and it can easily be mounted, unmounted and transported.



It consists of four sides, top, bottom and a division for the electronics in the upper part. The left and right side are exactly the same, so as the front and back with the difference that the front has a hole for the acrylic door.



The box also has a división in the upper part to locate the electronics inside and to hang the lights and watering system below it.


The box has another division in the lower part made of acrylic, that is the one that will hold the plant and let the water pass back again into the tank.