Bioglow: Creating Plants that Glow in the Dark

Imagine a street at night that is not illuminated with yellow lamps or LED diodes but with colourful glowing plants and trees on the sides. What sounds like a scenario from a fantasy or science-fiction story could become reality sooner than one might think. There were some experiments with luminescent plants in the past but they all relied on paint, injected chemicals or external UV-lights to create the glowing effect. Scientists have now discovered a way to genetically modify plants so that they can emit light on their own, similar to glowing bugs.

The molecular biologist Dr. Alexander Krichevsky is the inventor and responsible for the main scientific work on this field. He founded the company Bioglow in St. Louis, Missouri and is working on making the autoluminescent flowers, trees and shrubs a working reality. Bioglow already produced the first commercially glowing plant called Starlight Avatar™. It is a genetically modified variety of the Nicotiana alata, also known as Winged Tobacco. Throughout its life cycle it emits a greenish light that can be seen best in absolute dark. According to Bioglow the light of future plants could be shining in many different colours like blue or red. The spectacular prototype of a autoluminescent plant is right now only available in a limited amount. 20 specimen can be purchased by auction on the Bioglow website.

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Koubachi: Give Your Plants a Voice

Not everybody is born with a green thumb. For some people it seems to be impossible to keep their plants alive for more than a few weeks, because they don’t know if their pot flowers need to be sprayed every day or just once a week or how much light is needed. But like for many everyday problems there is a solution that involves an app for your smartphone.

The Koubachi system consists of a Wi-Fi plant sensor that sends information about the humidity of the soil, the temperature and the light intensity to the “Plant Care Engine” where the data gets evaluated and a recommendation gets send to the owner’s smartphone when to care for the plant and how. According to Koubachi, the software uses plant care models that have been developed with leading biologists and scientifically proven in greenhouse experiments. For every species, Koubachi is able to determine the exact needs considering the current season and climate zone.

The plant sensor is not mandatory; the free Koubachi smartphone app and the web app also work on its own and send alarms, notifications and advices based on the information the user gives into the database.

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The Micro-Planter Chess Set

Chess: One of the oldest, most popular and most complex board games ever created. For hundreds of years people have wrecked their brains over the positions of the 32 black and white pieces. Countless designs of the King and his army have been made over the time, either hand-crafted or made in factories. The latest developments of the 3D printing technology make it now possible to realize unusual designs without manual labor or going into mass production.

The Micro Planter Chess Set is designed by the XYZ Workshop, a creative team of husband and wife specialising in 3D printed curiosities. The idea is that you can grow different herbs or succulents in the pots and give the game of chess an individual note that can be seen, smelled and felt. The design of the pieces reminds of the Bauhaus style with simple and strong geometric forms.

Anyone who is interested and has access to a 3D-printer can download the design files and start printing their own chessboard.

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Garden Theatre – New Developments in Outdoor Audio and Video Technology

The fireplace in the garden is completely set up with comfy lounge furniture; the outdoor kitchen is equipped with refrigerator and brick oven, what else is missing to turn the garden into a full living space? Of course an audio setup and TV to enjoy music, sport events, TV shows, video games and movies. Audio and video technologies complete the outdoor living experience.

Installing a conventional TV on your patio might be a bad idea; even if you manage to keep it somehow protected from the rain, those models aren’t built to withstand drops in temperature and won’t live long outside. Companies like SunBriteTV, SkyVue or VIA offer specially built television sets that can cope with wet, cold and hot weather. SkyVue claims that their TVs work at temperatures from -33° to +54° Celsius.

The technology integration firm VIA offers full audio and video solutions for outdoors. Their TVs are designed to be exposed to the weather elements and feature screen coatings to minimize the glare of bright outdoor environments. The sets can be integrated in the setting of any garden; they can for example unfold out of the ground and hide away when not used. There are also new developments in audio technologies for outside. Weather-resistant outdoor speakers have been available for years; however, the latest loudspeaker technology offers much more consistent sound coverage and greatly improved sound quality. In-ground hidden subwoofers and camouflaged speakers will easily be heard but will be hard to find.

If you really want to afford the maximum you can install the C Seed 201 in your garden, the largest television on the market with a gigantic screen that is over 5 metres (201 inches) in diagonal.


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Mobicook by indu+: Plug & Cook ‘n Grill

The Belgian company indu+ specialises in bringing the joy of cooking and grilling outside into the garden. Their latest product line is MobiCook, a mobile trolley with integrated cooking and grilling plates and enough workspace to prepare the ingredients.

MobiCook works with electricity, no charcoal or gas is needed. The plates are equipped with induction technology for cooking and infrared for grilling meat. This means that the food is done very fast with low energy costs, also the plates can be cleaned easily. The trolleys themselves are made from high-quality powder-coated steel and combine an elegant young design with mobility and easy usability.

MobiCook comes in four different versions: The smaller sized are “Solo Grill” and “Solo Cook”, with one plate each, the large ones have two plates, either “Duo Grill” with two grilling plates and “Duo Cook ‘n Grill” with one grilling and one cooking plate. Extra features are a fitted cutting board, knife holders and a bottle rack for storing the equipment. There is also a protection cover so the MobiCook can safely be stored.

Indu+ is exhibitor at spoga+gafa 2013 in Cologne from September 8th to 10th.

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