Brunel Industrial Design and Technology student, Natalie King, has invented Tulipe, an electronic plantpot that can tell its user if their plant is unhappy.
The base is illuminated with a green light if all is well, and turns red if the plant is too dry, too hot or cold, or if the surroundings are too light or dark. Tulipe will also vibrate on the red light when the pot is picked up.
Natalie got the idea for a smart growing pot after contacting the UK horticultural therapy charity, Thrive, for her final year project. “Gardening can have a range of benefits for all kinds of people,“ she explained.
“My grandfather, who has always been a keen gardener, has a sight condition called age-related macular degeneration that reduces central vision, so he can only see peripherally,“ added Natalie. “It was designed for people like him. He really likes the idea.“
Tulipe can be used by people who want to grow herbs from seed. The pot comes with a seed cover to create a warmer environment when planting seeds, so, hopefully, they will germinate quicker.
However, the smart pot can also be used for any plant and may attract people who are not as green-fingered as they would like to be. Natalie said, “It encourages the gardener to interact with their plant. When the base turns red, one doesn't know if the plant is thirsty, or too cold, or not getting enough light, you have to try out the options until the base turns green. You get to know what the plant likes.“
Natalie is due to begin her first graduate job as a retail designer with Chanel at its UK headquarters in Bond Street, London.
Tulipe will on show at the Made in Brunel final year student showcase at the Business Design Centre, London N1, on June 8, 9, 10.
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