Not everyone has access to outdoor garden. Fortunately, with today’s technological advancements, it is becoming much easier to grow houseplants indoors. When it comes to artificial light source, different solutions are available for replacing or supplementing natural sunlight. Here are some of them:
LightRail Light System On Rail
Plants need the energy of light to grow. Unfortunately, distributing light evenly can be fustrating. stationary grow light does not maximize light during photo period. This can lead to limited growth. Worse, the heat from static lighting can damage your plants. This is where the LightRail light mover comes in. Manufactured by Gualala Robotics, LightRail is simply an extension of your indoor plant lights. As the name implies, it is designed to move any indoor grow light. More leaves get light. Hot spots and shadows will be eliminated. Three versions are available, that include LightRail IntelliDrive 3.5, LightRail AdjustaDrive 4.0, and LightRail 5.0 Side by Side. The basic system consists of a motor, rail and hardware needed for hanging. The next model, LightRail 4.0 AdjustaDrive, has the added feature of adjustable speed control. Unlike the LightRail 3.5 that comes with a fixed setting, the drive motor can be set at 6rpm to 10rpm. The highest end model, LightRail 5.0, is shipped with a longer 8 foot rail.
Soybot Mobile Sun-seeking Robot
By combining art and agriculture, Purdue profs have designed a robotic device that helps indoor plants seek out light automatically. To detect sunlight or LED grow lights in a room, Soybot is equipped with two light sensors. The robot can also be guided by pointing flashlight beams to its sensors. Soybot is more than just a light-seeking robot. It is an artwork. In fact, the modified Roomba robot was originally designed for an art exhibition. When Soybot is part of an exhibit, its movements is plotted on a visualization window. Sensor data is also transmitted to the window to display variation in light intensity at different areas. As the
name implies, the planter box contains soybean plants that have long been recognized as a plant food. With an average protein content of 40%, soybeans are one of the world’s most important agricultural commodities. Their significance for global food production is one reason they were chosen for this project. Soybot is not the only robotic plant holder with a light-seeking directive. With the help of solar sensors, IndaPlant, a mobile potted plant developed by researchers from Rutgers University, can autonomously chase the sunlight around. The three-wheeled robot also comes equipped with moisture sensors that alert the owner when their plants need to be watered.
OGarden Rotating Indoor Garden
Countless automatic indoor gardening systems are readily available out there. What makes OGarden different from the rest is that it utilizes a slowly revolving wheel to get the job done. A grow light (125W CFL) that drives photosynthesis is placed in the center of the wheel. The unique design ensures all the plants get equal light exposure. It definitely helps to reduce lighting consumption. Roots grow in a coconut matting. They are automatically fed with organic liquid fertilizer. The wheel’s gravity effect supposedly leads to better plant growth. OGarden is designed to produce a continuous stream of fresh greens at home. Featuring circular design, it is able to grow up to 100 plants at a time. Despite its primary purpose, the rotary garden is small enough to fit into a corner of a room. It is worth noting that the first rotary garden was built by NASA to provide astronauts with fresh food. With all of its advantages, it could be a great solution for urban gardeners who want to grow more food with far less water, fertilizers, and energy.
There is no a cure-all solution to indoor gardening problems. But it cannot be argued that improvements in plant lighting offer many benefits for indoor growers. With innovative lighting solutions available today, our options for plants are not restricted to the ones that thrive in low-light conditions. No need to rotate the pots every week or two to ensure each side of the plants get the same amount of sunlight. The placement of the plants get much more flexible. Of course, such automatic lighting systems will also add excitement to your hobby.