Life in the Grow Lane: iPad Controls Biome Smart Terrarium

Terrariums may conjure up images of moss-covered mushrooms and tiny plants bathing in their own mists, but they are no longer the sole province of school children and hobbyists thanks to British designer Samuel Wilkinson. Wilkinson recently created the Biome Smart Terrarium as one of ten designs featured in London Design Festival’s Slow Tech: Designs for Digital Downtime exihibit, which was curated by the über-hip media site Protein and Wallpaper* magazine editor-at-large Henrietta Thompson.


The Biome Smart Terrarium works with an iPad or iPhone. The iDevice controls the climate, water level and nutrients within the terrarium. The terrarium links to the iDevice via sensors and is equipped with low energy lighting designed to emulate the sun. The Biome can accomodate a variety of different environments including a desert, tropical, or even an herb garden depending on the gardener’s interests and skill level.

Wilkinson recently told the digital design magazine MocoLOCO, that the terrarium “promotes ‘digital downtime’ by finding an alternative use for smartphones and encouraging their owners to consider a slower life. The control and nurturing of a real mini eco-system takes patience and care, contrasting with the immediacy of messaging or tweeting that is so characteristic of the smartphone generation.”

The terrarium boasts clean modern lines, and bears little resemblance to its chunky glass forebears. There is no word yet on if the device will be available to consumers or what the cost will be.

Before the debut of the Wilkinson’s terrarium, iDevice owners in search of a slower pace had to settle for virtually soothing apps such as iZen Garden for iPad. Who says technology can’t be relaxing?

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About Emily: Emily is a freelance writer who loves discovering new apps whenever she can pry the iPad away from her children or husband. You can contact her via Twitter: @whatwentwrite

  • daaydream

    “Moss-covered mushrooms”?  That’s not even possible.  Way to choose a writer with no apparent knowledge of biology…  That said, I definitely want one of these things.