SproutsIO offers controlled (or automated) indoor gardening

A fine-tuned solution for the urbanite without a garden or a green thumb.

SproutsIO is the horticulture creation by Jenny Broutin Farah of the Massachusettes Institute of Technology. As the CEO and co-founder of the company, Broutin Farah has been leading the development of the intuitive mini-garden since 2011.

The device is an inclusive package of all the ingredients one needs to grow herbs and plants in a small indoor space. It offers laser-precise control over the way any given sprout grows with an accompanying smartphone app. The app (of which there are both iPhone and Android versions) allows the user to manage the feeding schedule, light intensity and harvesting of herbs in their own kitchen. The grower is free to apply as much (or as little) of their own input as they desire, also benefitting from preloaded crop profiles to suit the growth of different plants.

SproutsIO self-adjusts according to the state of whatever crop it is currently cultivating. The app offers additional long-range control as the user can monitor (with a built-in camera) and manage their crop while away from home.

The technology requires no soil (also known as aeroponic growth) which minimises the necessity of water to about 2 per cent of what a conventional earth-grown crop would need as it uses nutrient-rich vapour to feed the plant. SproutsIO’s light (which uses 50 per cent less power than a regular light bulb) allows the plant to grow and photosynthesise all year round, unaffected by outdoor weather conditions. It controls practically every condition necessary for optimal growth and allows the user to tweak the variables if they wish.

Broutin Farah spoke to Fast.Co Design about her motivation to cut down the waste that occurs in the lengthy process of food production by designing an alternative that closes the gap between farm and dinner table.

"There’s so little transparency in our food. We don’t realise how much energy and resources are wasted in the process of growing, packaging, and transporting foods from farm to table," she says and goes on to explain the benefit of privatising the process, “You don’t want to waste something that you’ve nurtured from a tiny seedling to something you’re eating in your meal."

SproutsIO is currently garnering funds on Kickstarter in order to become mass-distributable by 2017. View the short promotional video below for more information.

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