Last week while on my travels through the Internet, I came across Biome Smart Terrarium. A terrarium, by the way, is a miniature landscape with plants (and animals). I am fascinated by these micro worlds. Typically, I would look at the beautiful pictures and move on.
But what got my attention was the fact that this Terrarium was controlled by an iPad (s AAPL) or a smartphone. It was a sensor-based micro world, connected to the network. An artful marriage of physical living and digital worlds, the terrarium could be a precursor for what home and gardens could become in the age of connectedness.
Tony Fadell with his thermostat and his startup Nest have already kicked off the ultimate home makeover. It is only a matter of time before we start to see a rush of devices that marry the physical and the digital worlds and thus bring about a whole new level of interactivity.
What is Biome and how does it work?
Biome is a flora terrarium that works a little like a live tamagotchi, and it is the brain child of product designer Samuel Wilkinson. It has low-energy lighting built into the terrarium, which also has sensors that are in turn connected to a smartphone or iPad that is used to control its climate, water level and nutrients. “It is designed to incorporate different types of environment — tropical, desert, even herb garden — and can be easily controlled by even the least green-fingered of users,” a press release notes.
As I wrote in my recap of last week’s GigaOM RoadMap conference, to me connectedness is a transformative force, and this terrarium is an embodiment of that force. This marriage of the analog and digital worlds shows that in the future everything will be connected. Terrarium’s creator Wilkinson (follow him on Twitter) is one of the world’s foremost product designers. The London-based designer has worked for companies such as LG, Samsung and Virgin Airways and has his own design studio.
He has come up with some astonishing designs, such as Plumen, an energy-saving light bulb, that has been drawing praise from around the world. I emailed Wilkinson to find out how he came up with the idea of this iPad-controlled terrarium. Wilkinson says that the idea for Biome came when he got an invitation to participate in an exhibition called Slow Tech.
New Slow Tech
The concept of the Slow Tech exhibition was that with increasing connectivity, we were going to need digital downtime, which in essence is the need to have a break from being connected. There is a school of thought that believes that being connected inhibits creativity and thus our brains need some downtime away from screens to become generally more efficient and rested.
“I wanted to design something that did not force you to put down your device, but encourages a less immediate response, something that over time will be gratifying and rewarding,” says Wilkinson. “The main thought was that if the terrarium became a charger that when you connect, it disables the device from other connections and only allows the terrarium connection (plus a re-charge) so that over time you get a therapeutic reward for un-connecting for one or two hours a day.”
“New devices have become purely ‘personal assistants’ that fit into our lives rather than the other way around. Future of technology is to become far more immersed and subtle, even hidden. Something that is so intuitive that when used it is so natural we don’t even register the use,” says Wilkinson.
The Biome is a perfect example of it. Unless you know that an iPad is being used to control the terrarium, it looks like any other micro-scape: cool, serene and utterly charming.
PS: I just posted a shareable version of this on my blog here.
17 thoughts on “How iPads, phones & sensors will redefine our homes”
Is this available for purchase right now? I couldn’t find anything about that.
it’s good infomation to me! thanks
That is so cool!I found that so interesting! Really nice post! I was wondering the sme thing as motionblurred?
This is a really sad, pathetic product.
I spent the weekend, as I now do most weekends and holidays, completely disconnected. And I find that on Monday mornings I really do not look forward to picking up an electronic device of any kind.
There is no need to be connected, and my house will NEVER be connected.
Get a life.
Seems like your connected right now wasting your precious life commenting to random people about how they should get a life.
The pace at which technology is rising one can be sure that the ‘Smarthomes’ of the future will be a pleasure to live in. With multi-sensors enabling digital and touch interface these homes will be quite the treat !
Software Development Companies
Om Malik can’t get enough Apple. You must have some financial interest in Apple either through holdings, options or some other way. It’s not healthy to write so much about one company or is it you define yourself through your Apple products which is so sad.
Have you guys heard the latest news?! FACEBOOK has “stolen” its features from Google Plus!! It’s unbelievable! Here’s a link
How iPads, phones & sensors will redefine our homes http://t.co/A3JcAYac via @zite
Blending technology and nature to find balance!
How iPads, phones & sensors will redefine our homes http://t.co/FA6ZebVi ME: Nest thermostat is only the beginning.
How iPads, phones & sensors will redefine our homes http://t.co/2eWigkUc #Internet of #things #future #
RT @raventech: How iPads, phones & sensors will redefine our homes http://t.co/yvtJCSX8 ME: Nest thermostat is only the beginning.
RT @gigaom: How iPads, phones & sensors will redefine our homes http://t.co/af21SF27
Digital and Physical collide. More practical solutions please! How iPads, phones & sensors will redefine our homes http://t.co/Zlxpx1Zk
Want a peek at how your house will function in 10 yrs? Check out this iPad-controlled terrarium: http://t.co/0gSBZM9h cc @AARPFamily
RT @aarptech: Want a peek at how your house will function in 10 yrs? Check out this iPad-controlled terrarium: http://t.co/x54RP9j5
How iPads, phones & sensors will redefine our homes (via @ReadItLater) http://t.co/3QQe419h