Sometimes I come upon a DIY so brave, so interesting, and so unusual it seems like something straight out of science fiction. This rad "Bio Computer" is such a project. Wanting to bring some greenery to a dark office, Mike Schropp turned his computer into an impromptu planter
The heat from the computer provides a natural growth and germination mechanism for an aspiring botanist. However, water is clearly involved here and we all know that water and technology do not mix. That's why Mike used an old computer someone had given him to test his theory. The radiant heat from a computer could create an ideal soil bed for plants, but just placing a planter on top of the computer wouldn't provide enough contact with the heat source.
By building tubing which could serve as water reserves, the electronics could heat the soil without coming in direct contact with any liquid. Using a fairly large enclosure, he was able to build an entire soil bed that doesn't rest or touch the hard drive or any other component. (And don't worry, he didn't use his primary PC for this project.)
Once it was built, the other main challenge was getting the temperature right. Mike says: "Using the fans to control the case temperature allowed me to vary the temperature inside the case from a low of 75°F (24°C) to a high of 91°F (33°C). In order to achieve the desired increase in soil temperature, I had to run the case temperature toward the higher end of the scale."
It's certainly not a hack for those without a green thumb or computer building savvy, but perhaps it may inspire smaller scale tech+plant growing endeavors.
In case you're curious about the plant: it's wheat grass, which needs plenty of heat to grow and took well to Mike's new planter. You can see the full explanation of his project on his blog, Total Geekdom.
(Image: Total Geekdom)