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EcoQube Air desktop greenhouse clears the air while growing your plants

Growing plants in a home or office can be challenging due to several factors, including the need for adequate light and the messiness involved in using soil and water.

patent-claimedEcoQube Air is a desktop greenhouse that makes growing plants indoors much easier. As a bonus, it also has been designed to improve the user’s quality of life by purifying the air and providing smart light therapy to combat seasonal affective disorder.

The device uses hydroponics, which provides benefits that include low maintenance, a reduction of water usage by a whopping 90 percent, faster plant growth, and a drain spout for easy water change. Hydroponics is a method of agriculture that grows plants without the use of soil. Using this technique, plants can be grown with a fraction of the amount of resources (water, energy and space) required to grow plants the traditional way, in soil. Plants thrive by absorbing only as much nutrients and water they need.


ChiliBud is a tube to provide for your peppers

Chili lovers and tomato lovers can now have a friendlier environment in which to enjoy growing the plants that will make their favorite foods more readily available. And there’s nothing like a fresh pot of chili or steaming plate of spaghetti with homemade sauce on a brisk autumn or winter day. ChiliBud is a 500mm high cylindrical greenhouse that promotes a micro-climate while still allowing for proper pollination. In addition, the tube wall perimeter helps reduce slug attacks, while the spherical reflector means that the best use of light is being made for the most optimum plant growing environment. This is especially true for potted plants since the tube promotes an enhanced heat storage situation, even for the more northern side of the plant. A smooth balcony or patio will be required to get the best results for stability from the rubber rim. For £25, backers get one product with an expected delivery of November 2015.

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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.