Computer-controlled garden concepts are surprisingly common. It seems we are always looking for a way to have the lush, green plants without the effort of keeping them alive. But what if we looked at it from a different perspective -- with the computer controls helping not just to keep the plants alive, but to help you thrive as well? That's the thinking behind this design from Samuel Wilkinson.
The Biome terrarium is controlled with an iPhone or iPad app, which as Unpluggd puts it, is run as "a sort of meditative-escapist alternative to the typical entertainment or task oriented app. Instead of trying to deal with angry avian combatants or update a social network, Wilkinson's concept connects iPad/iPhone with a bio-feedback system for 'digital downtime', conceived with plant growth promoting lighting and customizable settings specific to the type of flora placed inside."
The digital downtime is a way to use our technology for something peaceful, relaxing, and nurturing rather than for gaming, scheduling yet more meetings, or answering texts and emails.
The tabeletop ecosystem that’s nutrient, temperature, lighting, and water levels can all be monitored and adjusted with the iPad app. You have to invest time and thought into monitoring the ecosystem, paying attention to what it needs or what it lacks and making adjustments that will show over time, rather than with an instant update.
“This could either act as an introduction to non-green-fingered people who love gadgets, or just be a small garden for plants that need a very sensitive environment,” the London-based designer told Co.Design. “Over time,” he says, “you get a therapeutic reward for unconnecting for one or two hours a day.”
The design was part of Slow Tech exhibition, a part of the London Design Festival with a mission we love: "As a response to today’s hyper-connectivity and constant communication via digital technology and social networks, Slow Tech explores the importance of stepping away from our shiny monitor screens and taking time off the communication channels."
This gadget is just a prototype thus far, but we could see it becoming a real product for people who want to garden and connect with nature in a less traditional way.