This Sleek Desktop Greenhouse Uses Plants To Clean Your Office Air

A new air purifier is designed to look better than the typical plastic tower–and, if you like, it can also grow a little basil for your lunch.

The EcoQube Air uses an activated charcoal filter and a HEPA-like filter to clean pollen, dust, and VOCs from the air. When fans recirculate the filtered air, they also pump out oxygen from a plant growing inside, along with moisture from a fogger.

“It’s an ecosystem that not only functions as a greenhouse but also as a humidifier, air filter, and air circulator to clean indoor air,” says Kevin Liang, founder of its maker, the startup ADI.

Inside the greenhouse, a hydroponic system means plants only have to be watered once a month. Full-spectrum LED lights make it possible to grow plants far from a window–something that could be useful in dimly lit offices, where adding plants is proven to make people more productive. (The lights can also be programmed, via an app, to help reset your own circadian rhythm if you’re having trouble sleeping.) It’s possible to grow flowers, typical houseplants, or food.

Each greenhouse will come with a simple science project-like kit as a way to help more people learn about the potential of hydroponic technology in agriculture more broadly. “Our goal is to sort of put these breakthrough concepts into homes as living décor in a bite-sized, beautiful way,” Liang says.

“If we all grew up in an environment where we understood these methods really well, we would see sustainability and technology–and what role that plays in the future–substantially differently,” he says.

The EcoQube Air is crowdfunding on Kickstarter.

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