Smart Pot Punishes Your Plants If You Don’t Change Your Bad Habits

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(Image credit: Phabit)

We’ve offered plenty of tips on how to break bad home habits, but what if a plant’s lifespan depended on your ability to finally kick those less-than-productive tendencies to the curb? Enter Phabit, a device that rewards good habits by keeping plants alive.

Designed by Royal College of Art graduate Jen-Hsien Chiu as a part of the school’s Innovation Design Engineering program, Phabit either feeds or deprives the plant of nourishment depending how willing the user is to tackle their bad habits. Eek. If it sounds like the ultimate guilt trip, that’s because it basically is.

Phabit comes with an app that categorizes the user’s personality based on a quiz that analyzes their reactions to various scenarios. Their responses determine whether they’re classified as an Obliger, Upholder, Questioner or Rebel, which Phabit then uses to identify challenges that are most likely to keep users from breaking bad patterns.

(Image credit: Phabit)

Using this info, the Phabit can then connect to iPhone’s health tracker to determine the user’s step counts. Additionally, it monitors the user’s behavior and employs the help of GPS to detect when the person enters a particular location as well as the length of time they spend there. For example, if you slack off at the gym, your plant will pay the price. The plant – which is housed in a tube-shaped device that serves as a pot – receives a supply of water and light or is left to starve in darkness, depending on how responsible the user is.

This may be sound like an extreme tactic, but Chiu has his reasons for selecting a plant.

“What I found was that a non-living object was too boring for users,” Chiu explained to Dezeen. “After one week users can usually predict what will happen and lose interest. On the other hand, something living was too aggressive for most people. If they failed they would feel too guilty about it to build a habit.”

(Image credit: Phabit)

“The plant is an interesting thing,” he added. “To humans, it lives in a state that appears to be in between a non-living and living thing. After living with the plant for a while, users see it as a pet.”

Would you change your habits to save a plant? Tell us in the comments.

Kenya Foy


Kenya is a Dallas-based freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer who devotes most of her free time to traveling, gardening, playing piano and reading way too many advice columns.