Smart material farming kit combating environmental degradation & desertification. #packaging #industrialdesign #climatechange

Anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for most of the unequivocal warming of the Earth's average global temperature for the second half of the century. With global warming and challenges with climate change, farmland has become difficult to work with. To help reclaim farmland affected by this, this study attempts to provide the tools necessary for farmers to be able to plant despite arid conditions in their specified regions of the world.

Using observational studies and quantitative research methods, we spoke to smart material experts in order to understand how to integrate hydrogel (a smart material that can change its shape and rapidly expand in the presence of high moisture levels) into farming practices.

The design solution included building upon existing DIY farming methods to create a kit. This included materials dependent on which region of the world the product would be sent to (keeping the food culture, nutritional value, and climate in mind), the hydrogel smart material, alongside a booklet to help educate farmers with less experience.

My role(s): design research, product design
Hydrogel can absorb and store roughly 400 times its own weight in water. Moisture is released slowly over time, and is less able to evaporate, especially if the gel makes its way underground. This hydrogel can absorb and release water over many cycles, lasting for several years.
After initial watering, seeds left alone for 2 weeks. The ones incorporated with hydrogel sustained while the others withered out.
Combining seed bombs (balls of organic matter that protect and help seeds packed within them to grow) with hydrogel granulates creates Hydroseed.
Hydrogel is incased into the shell composed of a mixture of compost and clay along with the seeds. The Hydroseed is designed to not only spread seeds or seedlings with the help of thier polymorphic smart material, it also uses the hydrogel to control the moisture levels in the surrounding soil after the seeding process is completed. 
When the bombs are launched and they reach the earth and absorb water, the hydrogel begins swelling with it, pushing seeds out into a wider radius. Hydroseed allows for plants to grow in dry environments that have a decreased capacity to retain moisture. It aids in reclaiming these less suitable lands and improves biodiversity.
KIT includes pre-made hydroseed balls + ingredients to create own with booklet instructions.
Clay + compost needed to create shell of Hydroseed + Hydrogel to add within it. The seeds added to kit depend on which region of the world the product is being sent to, keeping the food culture, nutritional value, and climate in mind.  An accompanying booklet includes more details about seeds + creating hydroseeds to help educate the farmers. 
Hydroseeds are also a good tool to reclaim urban surfaces that have been barren. These seed bombs are portable, covert, and require only a decent throwing arm to use; they’re ideal for grassroots landscape activism. They are also a good planting method for large areas that don’t need to be planted with any precision through tactical urbanism.
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