November 21, 2011 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
No green thumbs needed here: Biome, by London-based designer Samuel Wilkinson, is a smart terrarium powered and managed by an iPad or smartphone which controls its climate, water level, and nutrients. Sunlight for the mini eco-system is replicated by full-spectrum LED lights located inside the dome that contains sensors linking back to the smart devices. Normally used for human messaging, the devices in this case are used to monitor and control conditions like temperature and water levels and are designed to simulate various environments like tropical, desert, and herb garden.
According to the designer, “the idea promotes ‘digital downtime’ by finding an alternative use for smartphones and encouraging their owners to consider a slower life. The control and nurturing of a real mini eco-system takes patience and care, contrasting with the immediacy of messaging or tweeting that is so characteristic of the smartphone generation.”