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Plants

The Glowing Plants project aims to let you read by plantlight (Image: Shutterstock)

In the last week, over 3,000 people on Kickstarter ignored the fact it's next to impossible to keep a houseplant alive and backed the now fully-funded "Glowing Plants: Natural Lighting with no Electricity" campaign. The funds will be used to build upon existing technology and create a transgenic plant that has a soft blue-green glow to act as an electricity-free nightlight. Backer rewards, each glowing, include an arabidopsis plant, a rose plant, and arabidopsis seeds. We check in as the Glowing Plants team heads towards their first stretch goal and look at how this project is part of a bigger trend in DIY biology. But be warned: this is not your grandma's seed catalog.  Read More

Virginia Tech associate professor Percival Zhang is leading the research on the bioprocess...

Although the causes of world hunger are numerous, it certainly doesn’t help that factors such as arid conditions and limited land space make it difficult to grow food crops in certain places. If people in those areas could eat foods derived from plants that are hardy to the region, but that aren’t considered nutritious, it would go a long way towards addressing the problem. Well, that may soon be a reality, thanks to a newly-developed process that allows cellulose to be converted into starch.  Read More

The Smart Herb Garden features an LED light and capacity for three different plants

With sales of more than 50,000 of the first generation of its namesake product under its belt, Click & Grow is set to release a second-generation version of its smart pot plant system. Like the original, the new Smart Herb Garden will help take the guesswork out of growing plants indoors but, in response to user feedback, will support the growing of more than one plant at a time and include a built-in light to combat any lack of natural light.  Read More

Greenbox is an iOS-controlled irrigation system that uses local weather data to determine ...

There's a smartphone-operated device available to control pretty much every area inside the home these days, so it makes sense that smart devices should extend beyond four walls to manage outside spaces as well. The team at 22seeds have developed just such a system, known as Greenbox – it uses local weather data to determine and set customized plant-watering programs.  Read More

Grey to Green features several different designs which change the amount of vegetation all...

Although more of us than ever are choosing to live in cities, that doesn't mean we have lost our love for green open spaces. The popularity of parks and areas which haven't been wholly taken over by urban development suggests we haven't lost our yearning for something other than man-made materials. Caroline Brahme's Grey to Green is a concept designed to add a splash of natural color back to urban areas.  Read More

Daniel Zellor using his laptop on Terrarium Desk (Photo: Daniel Zeller)

Working exclusively indoors obviously has its advantages, but it isn't completely free of annoying issues. During the winter months especially, the lack of sunlight and absence of nature can have a depressing effect. One solution may be to bring the outdoors indoors, which is exactly what Daniel Zeller has tried to achieve with his Terrarium Desk.  Read More

The ECO-Cycle Aquaponics Kit lets users raise plants and filter their aquarium's water at ...

The folks at the non-profit ECOLIFE Foundation are dedicated to providing, as they put it, “ecologically sustainable water, food, and shelter to communities through education applied programs.” Part of this mandate involves the promotion of community aquaponics projects – systems that symbiotically combine aquaculture and hydroponics. Now, the group is bringing scaled-down aquaponics to classrooms and homes, in the form of its ECO-Cycle Aquaponics Kit for aquariums.  Read More

Tobacco plants used in the development of the vaccine

A familiar news topic during the flu season is the difficulties that the authorities face in producing enough flu vaccine fast enough to control the outbreak. That’s a serious enough problem, but when the influenza outbreak turns out to be the start of a global pandemic, then hundreds of millions of lives could be at risk. To combat this, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has developed a new way of making vaccines that has turned out 10 million doses of H1N1 influenza vaccine in a month, in a recent test run.  Read More

Flower Power is a wireless device that alerts you via your mobile device when your plants ...

When it comes to plants, do you have a brown thumb? If so, you might be interested in Parrot’s new Flower Power device. Revealed at CES, it’s intended to be stuck in the soil of a plant pot, where it measures parameters that are essential to the health of that particular type of plant. When things are out of whack, it notifies you via your mobile device.  Read More

The Home Aquaponics Kit provides the perfect opportunity to educate kids about the process...

Many of us have completely lost sight of where the food we eat comes from. As long as the product is sitting on the shelf when we visit the supermarket, we pay little attention to the process that led to it being there. The Home Aquaponics Kit is designed to counter this ignorance by educating children in the process involved in growing and cultivating food using a self-cleaning fish tank and a self-maintaining herb garden.  Read More

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