App-controlled terrarium puts on a sound and lightning show
Sometimes there's nothing nicer than curling up in front of the window with a coffee and staring out at the rain or the sunset – but the weather can be notoriously uncooperative. A new smart terrarium called SmartTerra could act as your personal app-controlled window, simulating rainstorms, sunrises and sunsets on demand.
At a glance, SmartTerra looks like a basic but stylish terrarium. Measuring 21 x 15.3 x 10 in (53 x 38.7 x 25 cm), the 10-gallon (38-L) tank sits on a raised pedestal designed to give the least obstructed view into the little world inside. An array of LEDs in the lid provides the plants with plenty of light and cycle on and off to simulate a day/night cycle.
Sensors allow air and water to be automatically circulated through the system when needed, creating a mini ecosystem that ideally looks after itself. Water is pumped from a tray in the bottom up into the lid where it falls like rain, for the benefit of both you and the thirsty plants.
SmartTerra connects to smartphones via Bluetooth, and the system is controlled through an iOS or Android app. From there, users can get real-time data on the environment in the terrarium, such as the temperature and humidity, choose profiles based on what kinds of plants are in there, and get alerts when it's time to refill the water tray or add more fertilizer.
But where the SmartTerra sets itself apart from other connected terrariums, like the Biopod, is its customizable sound and light shows. Rainstorms can be started on demand or set for a certain time each day, and the lights can simulate sunrises, sunsets, or lightning. Since the raindrops are probably not big enough to create that calming sound themselves, built-in speakers can add to the effect, simulating soundscapes of heavy rain and thunder, the rainforest or the ocean. Or, since it's a Bluetooth speaker, it can play your own music and sound effects from your phone.
SmartTerra is currently being funded on Kickstarter, and has so far raised over US$36,000 of its $50,000 target. Early Bird pledges start at $239 for the terrarium alone, or $279 for that and a Starter Kit, which includes soil mix, nutrients, decorations and cleaning tools. If all goes to plan, SmartTerra should ship in January 2019.
Check out the SmartTerra in the video below.