KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Sometimes it’s hard to remember to water your plants, but three Western Michigan University students might have a way to make your gardening life a little easier.
The idea started as a class project that turned into something more.
“The more we went further and further throughout the semester, we started realizing that this is actually a very good idea,” WMU engineering student Tatenda Zindoga said.
Kate Mih, a WMU sophomore, said they had to create a product that is not on the market.
“We had to design a whole business plan for it and a business model. And that was a very extensive process,” Mih said.
That’s why they created a business model and product called the SELPE — a self-watering planter.
“We want to take away the watering aspect for a lot of households because, you know, it gets busy after work with kids, stuff like that, traveling,” Mih said.
It’s an atmospheric water generator that is placed into the ground, taking moisture from the air and turning it into water.
“It’s self-sustaining, self-sufficient,” Mih said.
The team had their struggles throughout the process.
“Unfortunately, every single time we presented bottom of the class, four out of five,” Mih said.
In the end, they won first place in the school’s Bronco Pitch Competition, winning a $3,000 prize.
“We were so celebrating in front of everybody and that feeling of that hard work, just paying off at the end when you just made it, when you thought that this thing was just a class project and only for it to actually get recognized was amazing,” Zindoga said.
The students believe this product could help people across the world.
“I actually do want to push it to actually start something back home in Zimbabwe because we have somewhat of a water crisis because drought seasons are very common, so it could actually help us a lot,” Zindoga said.
They are working on creating a prototype and getting a patent for their design. They hope to perfect their prototype and eventually finalize their product.