Looking for a simple and affordable hydroponics system that can grow full-sized plants from the comfort of your kitchen? You might want to take a look at Niwa, a full-featured hydrophonics cabinet that you can operate effortlessly via a smartphone app.
A soil-free growing system, it brings the efficiency of hydroponics without any of the complications. It's fully automated, with built-in sensors and actuators facilitating the simulation of ideal environmental conditions (seriously, it takes care of watering, lighting, humidity control, heat regulation, and more), allowing total novices to grow and harvest produce with little work involved.
To use, just plant your seeds into Niwa, launch the smartphone app, and let it know what kind of seeds you plan to grow. From there, Niwa will use its presets to establish an ideal growing environment for the plants, alerting you whenever any work is needed on your part (e.g. add water to the tank). Occassionally, the app will also ask for information on your end to get a better picture of how the plants are growing. For instance, you'll be asked if the plant has started to grow flowers; if it has, it will then use a new preset, changing the simulation scenario to account for the more advanced stage in the plant's growth.
Three models are available: Mini, Standard, and Premium. Mini, which is ideal for small plants and herbs, measures 27 x 19 x 7 inches (h x w x d). The other two both use cabinets measuring 35 x 19 x 8 inches, although the Premium comes with anodized aluminum poles compared to PVC on the Standard. It can support the growth of practically any plant except trees (too big) and root crops (not equipped to handle them).
A Kickstarter campaign is currently running to fund Niwa. Pledges to reserve a unit starts at $249.