The closest most of us will get to the Amazon is visiting the Rainforest Cafe or reading The Lost City of Z, but biologist Jared Wolfe wants you to put a box full of lush life in your kitchen.
The Biopod is a smart microhabitat that lets you grow vegetables and plants or make a rainforest-style home for tree frogs, geckos, butterflies, and snakes. You can control it from an iOS or Android app, but it also automatically sends feedback from its sensors to its cloud. That means it adjusts the light from its LEDs, the temperature from its heating source, and rain from its irrigation system. Once it knows what you’re growing or the type of animals you’re housing, the Biopod can mimic their natural environment.
Jared Wolfe, who received his biology degree from the University of Calgary and says he’s been studying endangered frogs and their habitats for 20 years, developed the Biopod. Artificial habitats that replicate the rainforest would benefit the species but could be suitable for home use, too. “I then realized that these systems could do much more than save frogs, but could be used for décor, for growing herbs and for pets,” Wolfe says. “I created Biopod as a way to engage people of all walks of life for a common purpose – to collectively make a positive change in the world by simply enjoying what nature has to offer.”
If you’re not into something quite so exotic as a reptile habitat, the device can also just grow everyday vegetables, like tomatoes and peas, as well as herbs and lettuce. Based on soil measurements, the system will alert you when your salad-in-a-box is ready for harvest. If you actually like getting your hands dirty, you can also adjust settings to take a less automated approach.
An HD camera lets you visually check in on your system, which might of course be more exciting with animals than with plants.
There are three sizes: 14.2-, 21-, and 31.5-gallon tanks. The Biopod is available on Kickstarter right now, with the smallest size going for an early-bird price of $151. The company is based in Canada but ships anywhere in the world, and the device should arrive in December of this year.