We’ve covered a number of smart plant and soil sensors that can help gardeners get the most out of their efforts. But what if you live in an apartment, dorm or townhouse without a yard or even planter boxes, but still want to grow your own herbs or vegetables? For you, there’s Niwa.
Niwa is a self-contained, automatic, connected hydroponic growing environment. All it needs are some seeds, water and nutrient solution. Tell Niwa what you’re growing, and it takes care of the rest -- controlling temperature, humidity, nutrient levels, and light cycles to provide the best environment for the specific plants inside.
Not everything can be automated, however. Every so often you’ll need to replace the water, add nutrients or clear out dead leaves. Conveniently, all the maintenance is scheduled for you, and Niwa will remind you when it needs attention through the mobile app. Connectivity is WiFi based off the Spark module and the app will also ask you for feedback as the plants mature, so Niwa knows exactly which stage of growth they’re in.
Niwa is bigger than many connected appliances, about the size of a small filing cabinet. On the other hand, that’s not a lot of space to devote to an indoor garden that practically grows itself. Future models will offer a wider variety of sizes, form factors, and modular designs. Niwa’s exterior is clean and minimalist, though true DIYers will be more interested in the Makers Kit, which includes all the interior electronics and hardware but leaves it up to the user to build an enclosure.
Author: Ted Burnham