Seed Pod is a light and sound-filled sanctuary from the world

Perhaps now more than ever, we need to have our own sanctuary away from work, social media, the news, our smartphones, and anything else life unexpectedly throws at us. However, not all of us have a space to do that in, and even fewer have it when it’s really needed. This is the Seed Pod, an isolating cocoon-of-calm away from life’s stresses. Even though those distractions are right outside the pod’s open door, the clever design makes sure they stay just far enough away to be forgotten.

At first glance, the Seed Pod is a dead ringer for the pod in David Cronenberg’s version of The Fly, meaning paranoid sci-fi fans will be scanning the walls for any tiny winged intruders before stepping inside. Thankfully, there’s no need. The technology in the Seed Pod only transports you to your own personal calming space, rather than another place entirely. It does this using ambient lighting and transducer speakers in the floor, which combined with the design of the interior, fills the pod with sound that you can actually feel through your feet. The speakers connect to your device using Bluetooth.

Seed Pod close up
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The five LED lights change color and also use Bluetooth for customization, and are subtle, not distracting. The seats are hard, but the ergonomic design is very comfortable, right down to the curve of the pod matching our relaxed posture. It’s all incredibly effective. The noise and bustle of the DesignJunction show in London, where we saw the Seed Pod, was muted once we stepped inside. The world outside didn’t disappear entirely, a sensible design choice which takes away any chance of the pod becoming an unsettling or unearthly place, like a sensory deprivation tank.

It was instantly relaxing, as proven by the amount of time other people would spend inside. They would sit down, and simply wouldn’t get up again until prompted to do so.

Seed Pods are modular. The complete pod seen here is suitable for inside our outside use, and has a port in the ceiling to let in natural light. The entire top half can be removed, so the pod becomes more like a cup; but this removes the isolating, calming atmosphere produced by the enclosure. In the future, it will be possible to add custom cushioning to the seats, although with that option fitted, we doubt anyone would leave for hours.

Where would you find a Seed Pod? It could be purchased for your own home and garden, but its uses outside of this are far more interesting. At the moment Seed Pods are used in hospitals, offices, and even prisons. Anywhere a time-out would be beneficial. It’s an easily moved, space-efficient booth, so in the future, it could be found at festivals and other large events. From our point of view, the thought of a few Seed Pods on the show floor of CES or another massive event, where tens of thousands of people regularly jostle for space, is very attractive.

A basic Seed Pod costs 15,000 British pounds, or around $26,000, and if you want the lights and audio inside, like the one seen here, the total will be closer to 18,000 British pounds, or about $24,000. Expensive, but having felt the potential benefits of the sanctuary one provides, a worthwhile investment.


Can electric motors finally make three-wheeled cars great?

Every few years, someone tries to sell a three-wheeled vehicle to Americans. Historically, it hasn’t gone very well. We’ve got our suspicions about why people don’t buy trikes, and they boil down to this: a trike is just not a real…
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.
Product Review

Gate’s Smart Lock is locked and loaded but ultimately lacks important basics

In a world of video cameras and doorbells comes the Gate Smart Lock, a lock with a video camera embedded. It’s a great idea, but lacks some crucial functionality to make it a top-notch product.
Smart Home

Busted: Facebook Portal gets 5-star reviews from company employees

It's fair to say that Facebook's Portal smart display received a tepid response at launch, so it was something of a surprise to see lots of glowing reviews of the device on Amazon. Turns out some were written by Facebook workers.
Smart Home

Idaho mother says her child’s light-up sippy cup exploded

After a mother filled a Nuby insulated light-up cup with milk, the cup allegedly exploded. The incident caused burns to the mother's hand and face and a stinging sensation in her lungs that required a trip to the hospital.
Smart Home

The Instant Pot Lux is a gateway drug into the pleasures of pressure cooking

The 3-quart Instant Pot Lux is one of the most affordable Instant Pots you can buy. Is it still a solid pressure cooker? Here are our thoughts on the Instant Pot Lux, a great IP baseline model.
Smart Home

Project Alias is a ‘smart parasite’ that stops smart speakers from listening

Two designers chose to do something about nosy smart speakers. The result is Project Alias, a "smart parasite" that whispers nonsense to Google Home and Alexa until it hears a specific wake word.
Smart Home

DS3 Clean water-free swatches could be the future of cleaning products

DS3 Clean swatches were on display at CES 2019. The small swatches come in several types, including shampoo and toilet cleaner. They're great for travel, but their real impact is in how such supplies will be shipped and stored.
Smart Home

Amazon patents a technology to help Alexa fight fake voice attacks

Amazon filed a patent this month for a new technology that looks like it would help its digital assistant Alexa fight fake voice attacks that could potentially fool Alexa's biometric security protocols.
Smart Home

Amazon Prime members number more than 100 million in the U.S., survey says

Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimated there were 101 million U.S. Amazon Prime members as of December 31, 2018. Last April, CEO Jeff Bezos wrote there were more than 100 global million Prime members.
Smart Home

With focus on interoperability, is Nevo Butler a smarter home hub?

Universal Electronics is the latest company getting into the smart home market, announcing at CES 2019 that it intends to market the Nevo Butler, a new smart home hub with onboard A.I. and voice control technology.
Emerging Tech

Google’s radar-sensing tech could make any object smart

Computer scientists have shown how Google’s Soli sensor can be used to make dumb objects smart. Here's why radar-powered computing could finally make the dream of smart homes a reality.
Smart Home

The best air fryers deliver fried food with a fraction of the calories

What is this magical mechanism? It's an air fryer, and when used correctly, it can mimic the effects of frying while using just a little bit of oil. You still get that crispy, golden exterior and the fluffy center.