Solving Cities

NASA-inspired Ferris Wheel grows plants

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DesignLibero boasts the next iconic household item. Why don't more design companies draw from abandoned NASA plans?

I am surprised I don't hear about design companies rifling through old NASA plans more often. While solving dilemmas specific to life in space, NASA must have plenty of designs to offer those trapped on earth (which amounts to pretty much everyone).

who knows how many interesting ideas have never seen the light of day?

DesignLibero has just liberated one from the 1980's with the Green Wheel.

Researchers at NASA drew up a plan for a way to grow plants in space. This was no small feat. Water droplets float - and perhaps the most pervasive driving design principle when it comes to space: if you mess up, people will die.

The Green Wheel is set to live a far more banal existence. Aside from the newness factor, it has one really interesting thing going for it:

“If you calculate the circumference of the wheel, you have larger growing area that helps to cultivate more plants with a lower energy cost,” explains Libero Rutilo.

According to Mark Wilson at Co.Design, the "wheel is actually holding over 8 feet of plants, a space savings that allows one light source to do where, traditionally, two or more would be required."

The Green Wheel is like a really slow Ferris Wheel for plants. A reservoir of water at the base keeps the roots moist as the electric light democratically blazes for every seed.

Rutilo describes the Green Wheel as “an iconic garden object for residential use, like a TV.”

"Iconic" it certainly is not, but who can predict the future? Maybe in thirty years the Green Wheel will be a garage sale mainstay like the Thighmaster or Pat Benatar records.

Sonya James

Contributing Writer

Sonya James is a multimedia producer based in New York. With creativity and innovation in mind, she speaks to diverse voices on topics from racism in the art world to the patriotic nature of southern food. She holds a Masters Degree in Community Development. Disclosure