2014 Paris Motor Show highlights

Plants

The Aqualibrium is an aquaponics kit, that combines fish and plants

Home aquaponics kits, which combine fish and plants in a symbiotic relationship, are becoming more and more popular. One of them, the Fishy Farm, is a fairly large setup. The Home Aquaponics Kit, on the other hand, is pretty small, while the ECO-Cycle is designed to sit on top of an existing aquarium. The latest arrival on the scene, the Aqualibrium Garden, manages to carve out yet another niche for itself.  Read More

A LivePicture frame bursting with color

Huge green walls like the installation at Edmonton Airport are certainly more visually arresting than a succession of dreary old framed prints, and are claimed to improve air quality, too. LivePicture from New York-based Suite Plants takes this living wall idea and downsizes it to fit in a frame that hangs on a wall like a painting.  Read More

Doctoral student Vinay Pagay holds one of the chips

Whether you're growing wine grapes or mixing cement, there are some situations in which it's vitally important to monitor moisture content. Normally water sensors are used, although these can be both large and expensive. Now, however, a team from Cornell University has created a water-sensing silicon chip that's not only tiny, but is also reportedly "a hundred times more sensitive than current devices." What's more, the chips might be possible to mass-produce for just $5 a pop.  Read More

The TomTato consists of the top of a cherry tomato plant and the bottom of a white potato ...

We've seen a number of innovations that allow for gardening in small spaces, including a ferris wheel-like contraption, a mat that shows you where to plant specially-prepared seeds, and a system that lets you grow vertically-stacked veggies in your window. The TomTato, however, is in a league of its own – it's a single plant that produces both tomatoes and potatoes at the same time.  Read More

Cactus needles draw moisture to the plant, just like the new material draws in oil droplet...

When an oil spill occurs at sea, there are already a number of possible options for gathering the oil that floats in a layer on the water’s surface. Some of the oil also forms into tiny suspended droplets, however, which have proven much more difficult to gather. Now, Chinese scientists have developed what could be a solution – and it owes a debt to the humble cactus needle.  Read More

What the weeds look like once pulled out of the ground with Ring Weeder

Removing weeds can be annoying, especially in an area with a lot of plants. Ring Weeder slips over the user's index finger and allows for precision weed pulling all the way down to the root.  Read More

One of the FLOW-AID devices being field tested in Greece

We’ve already seen gadgets such as Koubachi and Flower Power, that communicate with users’ smartphones to let them know when their houseplants need watering. Scale that idea up to an agricultural level, and you get a prototype device known as the Farm Level Optimal Water management Assistant for Irrigation under Deficit – or FLOW-AID. It’s designed to let farmers in drought-stricken regions know when and how much water to apply to their crops, so they don’t run their irrigation systems unnecessarily.  Read More

The Nourishmat is designed to let inexperienced gardeners grow their own vegetables in sma...

If you have a green thumb, then you probably don’t think it’s all that difficult to plant and tend a vegetable garden. That said, there are many people who would like to grow their own veggies, but are intimidated by things like watering, weeding, choosing the correct plants, along with getting the spacing and planting-depth of the seeds right. It’s for these aspiring gardeners that San Francisco-based company Earth Starter has created the Nourishmat.  Read More

Bitponics at CE Week 2013 keeps green thumbs connected with their gardens

Don't want to ask your creepy neighbor to check on your plants while you're on vacation? Take care of them from the cloud, instead. One of the latest products in the burgeoning Internet of Things, the Bitponics system is a "personal gardening assistant" designed to make hydroponics gardening easier. The system connects the garden to the cloud, letting gardeners keep an eye on their plants and exercise their green thumb even when they're away.  Read More

Water Balance offers a visual reminder to feed your houseplants, by visibly showing how mu...

Most of us, at one time or another, have forgotten to water houseplants or flowers sitting in a vase in our homes. It's very easy to do, particularly if you have a busy lifestyle and one too many chores to do each day. If only housebound flowers and plants had a way of communicating with us their need for a drink ... Now they do, thanks to Water Balance.  Read More

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