From Singapore to the USA and all around Europe, Edible Innovations profiles food makers that engage in improving the global food system at every stage, from production to distribution to eating and shopping. Join us as we explore the main trends in the industry from a maker perspective. Chiara Cecchini of Future Food Institute — an ecosystem with a strong educational core that promotes food innovation as a key tool to tackle the great challenges of the future — introduces you to the faces, stories, and experiences of food makers around the globe. Check back on Tuesdays and Thursdays for new installments.
Today we meet with Junhwan Paul Kang, an international maker who was with us at World Maker Faire New York. He is one of the minds and hands behind Bloomengine. Bloomengine is a smart gardening device that help people grow plants indoors by optimizing light, air, and water for a healthier plant.
Junhwan, can you tell me more about the driving mission of this project?
The principal driver that pushed us to work on Bloomengine is education. Most people never have the chance to see the moment a flower blooms. It is mind-blowing, and it totally changes the perspective someone has about nature. We dream of gifting this moment to everybody. We also want to empower people to know more about blooming, flowers, and fruits in order to get more involved in growing their own food.
Is the device also able to help the plant’s health?
Absolutely! The device gathers sensors and cameras and communicates with smartphones through wifi. It is able to track the plant and send information back to the labs. Furthermore, we have been prototyping and testing a lot around the use of resources. So far, a plant can live and grow in Bloomengine for 2 months with the initial water. The goal is to combine knowledge and education with sustainability purposes. We want to create something uniquely powerful!
We have been able to add a water tank at the very bottom of the device, as well as a pump. The tank can contain up to 1.2 litres of water and the water pump constantly makes sure the plants have fresh water. We added a tube from the very top of the device to the tank, so everyone can refill the water just by pouring it in without having to open the tank.
At the bottom, just over the tank, we are inserting a small ventilation system. It works with Arduino and it takes care of accelerating the growth process.
Everything is made out of Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, polycarbonate, acrylic and silicon.
And are you planning to sell it, or it was this project for fun?
We started for fun but now we are planning to sell it at some point. We are still working on that and we hope to be able to launch a crowdfunding campaign at the beginning of 2018. We’d love to see it in people’s houses, as well as in schools.
We are still in the researching phase – we do have some patented parts but I imagine the whole engine running with Arduino.