Ideally, we’d all be able to grow our own produce and have fresh food whenever we want it, but the unfortunate truth is that if you live in an urban area and don’t have your own patch of soil, cultivating a garden is easier said than done. Sure, you could always grow stuff in pots inside your house, but if you’ve got a limited amount of square footage to work with in your pad, growing more than a couple sprigs of lemongrass is pretty tough.
Niwa, an upcoming product from a UK startup of the same name, seeks to solve this problem — not only by bringing hydroponic gardening into your living room, but also by making the process easier and more efficient than ever.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar, hydroponic gardening is a technique for growing plants without soil; instead they’re supplied with nutrient-rich water to promote growth. Normally, these kinds of growing setups require a fair amount of space, knowledge, and effort to maintain, but Niwa simplifies the process, and shrinks the entire setup down into a self-contained pod that does most of the hard work for you.
Using the accompanying smartphone app, you can control a wide range of environmental variables inside Niwa, including temperature, humidity, light, and airflow. The system’s hardware is paired with the smartphone app, so you can either customize the variables on your own, or simply designate what you’re growing and let the app set the right values for you. Once you’re all set up, you can check in and understand your plant’s progress and adjust settings from anywhere in the world.
It’s definitely not the first entry into the “smart planter” category, but it’s easily one of the most advanced we’ve seen so far. Unfortunately it’s not available for purchase or pre-order at this point, but its creators say they plan to launch a Kickstarter campaign within the next few months to get the project off the ground. For the time being, you can find out more here.