The Green Wheel is a NASA-Inspired Rotary Hydroponic Garden

by , 05/28/12

DesignLibero, Green Wheel, hydroponic garden, NASA, rotary garden, urban farming, green design, sustainable design, eco-design

The Green Wheel by DesignLibero is a NASA-inspired rotary hydroponic garden. NASA has come up with many ideas over the years, but due to budget and time constraints a lot have been discarded. Among them was the concept of a rotary hydroponic system that would have provided astronauts with fresh herbs and salad on long space missions. But now the brilliant idea has been revived in a sleek design that is perfect for earth-bound applications.

DesignLibero, Green Wheel, hydroponic garden, NASA, rotary garden, urban farming, green design, sustainable design, eco-design

While the function remains the same, the rotary garden has undergone a massive evolutionary change from an aesthetic point of view. The Milan-based studio combined their experience of interior design, architecture, product and graphic design to create a unique object that the hydroponic garden allows home owners to produce a variety of agricultural products in their own home.

The Green Wheel’s large growing area helps to cultivate a greater number of plants, as does the project’s illumination design. All plants are arranged around the light source that lies at the center of the wheel, helping to reduce lighting consumption. Meanwhile, the wheel’s gravity effect helps to optimize herb and vegetable production. Made up of an outer solid surface case that hides an engine that rotates the plants, the rotary garden also includes a water reservoir and pump for automatic plant irrigation. Inside the perforated inner wheel are vases and cover vases, each of which contain coco fiber that provide perfect support for the plant and its roots.

The wheel is also simple to use with an intuitive control interface that can be managed through a smartphone or tablet. The variable controls allow the user to set the amount of illumination and light temperature and to be advised of water levels, allowing the growth of virtually any vegetation. DesignLibero head Libero Rutilo isn’t shy about his company’s creation, describing it as “an iconic garden object for residential use, like a TV.” Nor should he be.

+ DesignLibero

via Fast Company Design

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  1. Abigail Watson August 15, 2014 at 2:46 pm… there’s quite a few technical advantages: fewer light bulbs are needed, because all the bulb lighting is going to plants, and not to dark corners of your room, leading to increased photosynthesis/m^2 production. Also, the rotary action provides a simple flood-plain irrigation cycle that simulates nightly rainfall, without the use of pumps and timers and flood-plain pans, and without the waterlogging that pure drip hydroponics causes. And LEDs are used precisely because of thermal dissipation.

  2. May 29, 2012 at 7:37 am

    While it really looks nice I fail to see the technical advantage of this design. The rotating wheel simply replaces two trays above each other – and adds moving parts, which usually are the most failure prone element of every mechanical design.

    An additional problem: To my knowledge you can’t buy high power LEDs (which are both the only really efficient ones and the only ones suitable to produce food) in a form factor usable in this design. There also is not enough room for thermal dissipation of the waste heat of the LEDs. I really doubt this design will be developed into a product.

  3. Green Joy May 29, 2012 at 5:03 am

    That’s definitely one of the more unique hydroponics design I’ve seen. I think it might be effective since the motor (I’m not sure since I’m not an engineer) won’t consume much energy if it was implemented properly.

    Juan Miguel Ruiz

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