Play God Over An Entire Ecosystem With This iPad Controlled Terrarium

Play God Over An Entire Ecosystem With This iPad Controlled Terrarium

If you’ve ever taken part in a freshman biology class (or seen Pauly Shore’s Bio-Dome, you know what a terrarium is: an enclosed space for keeping animals and plants by simulating that species’ native ecosystem. For example, that heated tank full of sand and rocks you keep your iguana in, or the dark moist basement Leander keeps Cult of Mac’s writers imprisoned in.

The only problem with terrariums is that it can be difficult to keep the conditions inside of them just so for the plant or pet you’re trying to make feel at home. It’s too easy to get the temperature or humidity or light just slightly wrong. But what if your iPad could control all of the fiddly knobs for you?

The Biome Smart Terrarium designed by Samuel Wilkinson does just that. The terrarium itself contains various sensors that monitor the terrarium’s needs. Those sensors in turn get monitored by a paired iPad, which then regulates and/or releases water, light or nutrients accordingly.

According to Wilkinson, he picked an iPad as a terrarium control as a way to promote a more slow-paced lifestyle. “The idea 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.”

Unfortunately, for right now, the Biome Smart Terrarium is a personal project, and there are no plans to market it. So all of you OCD Tweet maniacs out there who want to slow things down by raising a skink will have to do it the old-fashioned way.

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  • FriarNurgle

    I had a terrarium before. Buddy and I made a giant motorized water bong out of it. Had underneath accent lighting and you could remove the cap on the top and put your head in it. Those were the days. It actually shorted out once and caught the couch on fire. True story. 

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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