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The Botanicus Interactus system allows plants to be used to control electronic devices suc...

It is now possible to control a computer by touching a house plant – touching the plant in different places can even cause the computer to do different things. While using a mouse or touchscreen still might be more intuitive, Disney Research’s experimental Botanicus Interactus system does hint at what could be possible down the road.  Read More

The rapeseed plant is one of the most widely cultivated crops in the world and researchers...

As well as being the third largest source of vegetable oil in the world – after soybean and oil palm – rapeseed (also known as rape, oilseed rape, rapa, rappi and rapeseed) is cultivated in Europe primarily for animal feed. But due to high levels of glucosinolates that are harmful to most animals (including humans) when consumed in large amounts, its use must be limited. Now researchers at the University of Copenhagen have found a way to stop unwanted toxins entering the edible parts of the plant, thereby increasing the potential of the plant to be used as a commercial animal feed.  Read More

Designers Barreau & Charbonnet have created a hanging window garden solution named Volet v...

It may be renowned worldwide as the city of romance and revered for its beautiful architecture and art but with over 20,000 inhabitants per square kilometer, Paris is also a very crowded place to live. Parisians who want a steady supply of home-grown greens may turn to window boxes, balconies and small-scale vertical farms (like Window Farms perhaps) for help, but where space is a premium such luxuries might not be possible. Local designers Barreau & Charbonnet have come up with a hanging window garden named Volet végétal in which plant containers are raised and lowered on a pulley system rigged up to the outside of an apartment window.  Read More

The Green Wheel is an indoor gardening concept, in which hydroponically-grown plants rotat...

Back in the 80s, NASA envisioned a system for growing herbs and other edible plants in the zero-gravity environment of a spacecraft. Although it never got off the drawing board, that system consisted of a rotating ring with built-in hydroponics, which the plants grew on the inside of. Flash forward a few decades, and Italian design firm DesignLibero has taken that concept and re-imagined it as a consumer device, known as The Green Wheel.  Read More

Lasers have long been used for military applications, as in this US Air Force test, now th...

Weeds are pesky things. They grow everywhere and, by definition, where they’re not wanted. Whether a large-scale farmer or a weekend gardener, everyone who has tried to raise crops has wished that there was a ray gun that could just blast the wretched things out of existence. Now, thanks in part to researchers from the Laser Zentrum Hannover (LZH) at the Leibniz University of Hannover, Germany, that frustrated daydream is closer to reality. Through the use of low-powered infrared lasers, the team has found a way to inhibit weed growth without harming neighboring plants, providing an alternative to expensive, hazardous and environmentally-damaging chemicals.  Read More

The Koubachi Wi-Fi Plant Sensor keeping an eye on things so you don't have to

Who hasn't killed at least one houseplant in their time? Personally, I have given up trying to nurture these fussy organisms altogether and my house is now a green-free zone. Technology like the Koubachi Wi-Fi Plant Sensor might entice me to consider trying to bring the outdoors in once more though - it's designed to take all the hard work out of keeping plants alive while they reside in the unnatural environment that are our homes.  Read More

The herb garden components can slide in and out on tracks to help regulate growing conditi...

There's nothing quite like the heady aroma of fresh herbs, and nothing more satisfying than growing your own. Whether you use them to scent a room or give your cooking some much-needed taste bud titillation, if you live in tightly-packed city accommodation then indulging your appetite for fresh greenery can be difficult. If your home is not blessed with enough window space for a hanging garden like Windowfarms, but you have lots of floor space that's just begging to be divided up, then take a look at the Herb 2 project from FABRIKAAT. An experiment in folding and bending, this flexible partition wall is also a herb garden and an unusual source of low-energy lighting for your living space.  Read More

BPV technology is able to generate electricity by tapping into the photosynthesis of livin...

Designers and scientists at the University of Cambridge have been collaborating on a project that demonstrates a potential future application of Biophotovoltaic (BPV) technology. Dubbed the Moss Table, the concept furniture piece was exhibited at this year’s Salone Satellite – a parallel exhibition of young designers that took place during the Milan Design Week last month. The idea behind the table is that energy generated from the moss during the day could be stored in a battery and later used to power the adjoining lamp in the evening.  Read More

Seedlings did eight times better in New York City's Central Park than at comparable suburb...

Many people view urban areas as hostile for plants – concrete stifles root growth, and pollution from vehicles makes it difficult to gain nutrients. A study conducted by The Earth Institute at Columbia University not only discredits those theories, however, but suggests that urban environments have a lot to offer plants to promote growth.  Read More

Dr Craig Hollabaugh has created a system that keeps the roots of his plants warm and cozy ...

After a somewhat unsuccessful and rather expensive attempt at warming a greenhouse, electrical engineer Dr Craig Hollabaugh rigged up a system that keeps the winter chill away by warming the roots of his plants. The WarmDirt system has already helped his plants survive the coldest of Colorado's cold months, and is now getting ready to provide warmth to seedlings during the expected April freeze. This past season's survivors were all flowers but next winter, the setup will be used for growing veggies.  Read More

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