There are some people in the world who, try as they might, can never, ever keep an indoor plant alive. (Hint: me.) Here to save the day -- or at least the life of a few wax vines -- is Brooklyn designer Danielle Trofe, who has invented a whip-smart planter that does the watering for you.
The so-called Live Screen looks like some kind of chic, miniature alien colony and works like a full-blown sprinkler system. Stacks of pod-like planters hang off of tapered poles that hide electric, gravity-driven watering pumps. Preset the system, and at a designated time each day or week, the pumps tap water from a tank at the bottom of the screen, then push it up through plastic tubing in the poles and into the pods. Runoff then trickles back into the tank (through a second set of plastic tubes), so that none of the water's needlessly wasted. We would say that the whole thing is as easy as pressing a button, but it's even easier than that. You zap the button once -- that's it.
The health benefits of greenery are already firmly established. Live Screen, then, is a stone simple way to enhance folks' well-being indoors (and considering how much time we spend within walls, that's nothing to sneeze at). We could see the screen pretty much anywhere: in apartments, shops, and offices -- especially offices. Interns, we're sure, would be delighted to be relieved of their plant duties.
Obviously, the system's uniformity limits the diversity of plants you're able grow; you could not, for instance, use a single Live Screen to raise both a cactus and an orchid, lest you water the cactus to death (or, conversely, parch the hell out of the orchid). So yes, hypothetically, you could still screw this up. But it'd take work. Sadly, you won't have the opportunity to find out; Trofe's design isn't in production. That said, she encourages anyone who's interested in manufacturing, distributing or buying the piece to contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.