European startup company, Niwa, has taken gardening to a whole new level with their their fully-automated hydroponic system that allows even the smallest of dwellings to grow vitamin rich produce through a smartphone app. Its a Smart Garden that lives in your kitchen.
Javier Morrillas, founder of Niwa told motherboard.vice.com that the idea for an efficient and easy-to-use hydroponic system was born out of the inefficient globalised food system.
“I started working with agricultural experts to see how we can take that advanced technology and put it in the hands of ordinary people so they can grow their own food at ease,” said Morrillas. “After 2 years of research and development, multiple prototypes and trials we finally created Niwa.”
According to co-founder, Aga Nazaruk, Niwa is a “smart food tech device which will turn your house into a smartphone controlled greenhouse.”
“For the first time you can take care of your plants from your smartphone, understand its progress and interact with them or just put it on autopilot,” said Nazaruk, explaining that Niwa could potentially grow anything, “from timeless tomatoes and peppers to strawberries, orchids and medical plants.”
Designed to seamlessly fit into your home, Niwa uses a collection of sensors and actuators as well as a custom-built software program to control the temperature, lighting and humidity of its greenhouse.
Niwa – Automated Irrigation System
Moreover, Niwa includes an automated irrigation system that both waters and feeds the plants according to settings you put into your smartphone app.
The app itself is so intuitive that all you have to do is tell it what kind of plant you want to grow and the software will set the correct lighting and irrigation plan conducive to that specific plant. As the plant grows, Niwa will prompt you to give feedback on its progress. Niwa will then adjust its settings in the greenhouse to provide better care to the plant.
“In order to know which phase your plants are accurately, the app will ask you simple questions like ‘Can you see flowers?’ If you answer ‘yes’, a new stage and new settings are triggered. This creates superior performance and ensures that your plants will grow strong and healthy,” said Morrillias, who added, “More seasoned growers can use the system for incubation, experimentation or create and share their own growing settings with the community.”
Currently operating out of China as part of Haxlr8tr, Niwa is scheduled to start shipping its first units in March 2015 for around $USD200.