Connected Objects

MEG lets your iPad monitor a miniature greenhouse

The Premise. For all that humanity has learned about growing and harvesting plants, botany still tends to be something of an inexact science for the average person. Instead of attributing a plant’s success to whether or not one has a green thumb, one company wants to offer a more precise method of understanding plants.

The Product. The Micro Experimental Growing system, or MEG for short, is an indoor greenhouse that looks like a tricked-out gaming PC, but is really a connected, totally customizable platform for growing almost any plants. Connecting to tablets and mobile devices, this Arduino-based device can control temperature, humidity, ventilation, light intensity and cycles, and even soil pH levels. The device will be completely open-source and only requires about as much power as a modern television. Additionally, it includes a social platform allowing users to share their data when they understand the right settings to make a plant flourish.

The Pitch. Italian developer Yradia is excited to geek out about MEG in its video and it’s easy to see why. In addition to looking sleek and very modern, MEG looks simple to use once it’s running. The campaign photos explain the different components of MEG, how the social aspect will work, and covers the daunting, customizable reward tiers. Yradia wants to raise £98,000 to develop the online aspects and get started with manufacturing. It has also set up a stretch goal at £350,000 to begin a beta testing program, having users grow three plants under a variety of conditions to compare results.

The Perks. Though the individual pieces and peripherals are available at lower tiers for those who already have a botanical setup, a complete MEG kit isn’t available until the £2,800 tier, at which point the device arrives disassembled. For those who are better working with plants than they are technology, a fully assembled unit is available for £3500. The components will ship in September, the pre-assembled units follow in October, and the DIY kit after that in November.

The Potential. There is a ton of potential here for home growers, botany enthusiasts, and especially for scientists. By being able to perfectly control and replicate the variables involved in growing a plant, laboratories on different continents can contribute to the same experiment. It is likely more involved than the average hobbyist will want to take part in, but anybody who wants to grow the best plants will need a MEG, or something like it, before long.

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