The Compost Professor is designed to simplify the compost creation process. The system automates much of the compost creation process. When user interaction is needed, the system will tell the user:

The Compost Professor is made up of three units and four services.

Physical Units


  1. Compost Professor Dashboard (release targeted for Dec 2016) – The dashboard is a web-based system that provides detailed records on your compost health. The user can review progress and compare his compost creation against other users.
  2. Compost Helper Alexa Skill – This Alexa Skill tells users if a certain item can be composted.
  3. Compost Professor Skill (release targeted for Nov 2016) – This Alexa skill can provide the same information as the Kitchen Unit. It will also be able to proactively notify the user when an action is needed.
  4. Subscription Service – Each Compost Professor unit will come with a “starter kit” of Compost Activator and Sawdust Wood Pellets. Users will have the option of setting up an automatic replenishment of the activator and wood pellets.



Data Flow

Project Phases

The project will be developed in multiple phases:

Phase 1: Sensor Tests (complete)

Phase 2: Early Prototyping

Phase 3: V3 (“Hackaday”) Prototype

Phase 4: Minimally Viable Prototype (Dec 2017)

Running List of Requirements, Enhancements & Improvements


  1. Build motor to automatically turn compost (added 10/12/2017)
  2. Consider using Radio Packets versus Wifi for Kitchen sensor (as of right now, RFM69 library conflicts with TFT library). If change is made, this increases battery life of Kitchen Unit.
  3. Add Website - Unit Registration and Ordering capability
  4. Add Registration process for free use of APIs
  5. Determine best model for creation/manufacture of compost bin


  1. Soil moisture sensor not robust enough - switch to combined temperature and moisture sensor probe (ETC - Phase 3) [use a corrosion resistant moisture sensor) - DONE
  2. BLE not suitable for communication between devices, switch to LORA or radio packets (ETC - Phase 2) - DONE
  3. Ambient temperature should factor into analytics (ETC - Phase 3) - DONE, but not as important now that we are using a compost bin
  4. Is it possible to use the accelerometer and gyroscope to determine when compost is added to the pile (added 6/6/2017) - Use Tilt Sensor to determine compost bin location; may incorporate accelerometer at a later time
  5. Is O2 or CO2 a better indicator of health than Methane concentration? (added 6/6/2017) - Better indicator is Sulfur or Ammonia - those sensors are expensive and drain battery life. Continue to investigate
  6. Does it make sense to measure pH of the compost? (added 6/6/2017) - Not Needed at This Time
  7. Consider replacing 1 central micro-controller (Arduino 101) with separate battery-powered smaller processors for each sensor or actuator. This would make the product easier to use. (added 6/8/2017) - Replaces Arduino with less power intensive Adafruit Feathers. 


In closing, I want to highlight the people, modules and templates that I used in building the Compost Professor: