Today's featured Invention Award winner is the Groasis Waterboxx, which waters plants without irrigation.
Dutch flower exporter Pieter Hoff often spent nights in his beloved lily fields to monitor them. One evening, he noticed that the first droplets of morning condensation were collecting on the leaves of his lilies well before midnight.
Invention: Groasis Waterboxx
Inventor: Pieter Hoff
Cost: $7.1 million
Time: 7 years
Is It Ready Yet? 1 2 3 4 5
The plants lost heat to the air at night, and the cool surface of the leaves sucked water droplets from the warm, humid air. Nature's watering system, Hoff thought, is incredibly efficient. So in 2003, he sold his business and began developing a planter that could capture water the same way plants do and foster saplings in the harshest conditions.
Today, one third of the world's population lives where water is scarce or of poor quality, a number that's expected to jump to two thirds by 2025. Making matters worse, in some areas deforestation and overfarming have led to eroded soil that can no longer support many crops. Hoff designed his Groasis Waterboxx with this in mind—it's a plant incubator that's made from plastic or a biodegradable material and designed to cool faster than the night air, like his lilies. The box is coolest at its top, the part that has the most contact with the open air. Water condenses on the cover and flows down into a small holding tank, where it's trapped, along with any rainwater. The collected water and the box itself keep the plant and its roots hydrated and protected.
At the same time, a candle-like wick on the bottom of the box slowly drips small doses of the water into the soil and root system underneath, providing enough for the plant's first year of life but still leaving the roots thirsty enough to grow strong and deep. The box can easily be lifted up off the ground, over the top of the plant, and reused.
In 2006 Hoff took 25 Waterboxxes to Morocco's Sahara desert, and after a year, 88 percent of the trees he treated had green leaves, while 90 percent of those watered weekly (the traditional local method) died under the scorching sun. He is conducting more experiments with 20,000 Waterboxxes in difficult terrains in places like Pakistan and Ecuador this year.
Hoff is hoping to recruit people to buy a few Waterboxxes from his Web site (groasis.com) to see how the invention works in other regions he hasn't reached. "Everywhere you look, there's space to plant," he says. "But I can't do this alone."
Very cool and innovative design.....however, does anyone else think 7.1 million is a lot of money for a pot?
Development of a pot.....
I wonder where you got the 7.1 million? From looking at groasis . com, it seams to me that you can buy 10 of the pots at 19.99 Euros per pot for a total cost of 1999.00 Euros plus shipping.
There is zero question the human race will need to reclaim desert lands for growing food as human population grows. All that human effort wasted on religion. If Jews, Mulsims, Christians, and Hindus would spent the effort they waste on their faith, killing each other in the name of their religion, using their labor building solar desaltation and solar power plants in the Middle East, North Africa and the American / Mexican desert, using that free solar energy to grow food and energy crops, the world would be a much better place. I would rather be powering my car with renewable energy from plant based products, than oil imported from the Middle East and Africa.
Alreadly some businesses are growing food, turning abandoned lots in the US inner city into green houses for growing fresh vegetables for the local market, saving the cost of fuel trucking food across the US.
Where did religion come into this? People don't require religion to kill people, they find lots of reasons. Look to any large metropolis, you'll find people killing for -fun, -profit, -shoes, -someone looked at someone wrong, -because they were too sad, -too happy, -too angry, -too political, -not political enough, -too different, -too the same, -growing too many inner city gardens, -not growing enough inner city gardens. ad infanatum. Take your pick. I would actually say the time people spend on their religion is time they take from killing, raping and maiming each other.
Viva religion it slows people from killing, raping, and burning. Long live religion. The point is the problem isn't religion, any time someone believes in anything (politics for a perfect example) or feels anything it can lead to evil. So either follow the path of St. Augustine, or deal with the idea that with the will, a good free will, you take the chance that someone will choose badly.
As for the 7.1 million it's in the article as development costs, not the price to buy one pot.
Shame one cannot buy one or two pots (plus the required additional pieces).
Sounds like a true blue bible thumper. but you are correct, people do not require religion to kill. but it gives them a great excuse to. Religion came into the conversation because the OP was talking about desert area and large populations of people.
well, the middle east fits that description and there is alot of conflict due to religion. Most large scale wars have been due to religion.
Organized religion is the bane of humanity. believe what you want to, but just don't push YOUR ( not you in particular but people who think their view is right and everyone else needs to learn their truth ) views on other people. then we can start getting along and grow some plants.
Great invention! I wonder if the idea is scalable for the larger plants you get when the little ones out-grow these so they collect more water with a larger surface area on top and storage underneath. The website didn’t show different sizes of the product itself, just the shipping package size based on how many you order. Would it be possible to create a larger model out of a flexible plastic and leave a slight break in the circumference so you could ‘wrap’ it around the base of the plant? This way you could grow larger consumable-producing vegetation that could possibly produce more food per gallon of water (true/false?) instead of wasting effort and resources keeping the plants pruned to a manageable size. Also, with larger containers it could be possible to produce more water for the same sized plant, allowing you to focus on species that promote production instead of water-conservation.
Prof.Moriarty "Most large scale wars have been due to religion."
How many of those wars were started by religion? Possibly Afghanistan (responce to religious terriorist on 9/11).
Land and resources (taxes).
@Prof.Moriarty and @ellenbetty, Religion has not produced anywhere near the atrocities that secular idealism has. Despite the efforts of religious fanatics with misplaced zeal, and who have been condemned by their co-religioinists for the scandals they have caused, have not even come close to a minor percentage of the death toll produced by atheistic regimes in Asia, and the fascist regimes of Europe. And don't try to pull the exaggerated Inquisition/Witch Burning numbers revisionists like to tout as evidence. The fact remains that rejection of faith is the number one reason for genocidal homicide throughout modern history. Look up the FACTS, and stop relying on the fantasies of conspiratorial revisionists that have proliferated because of a society that is too lazy to check on the reliability of reported information.
Correction! I would like to point out that the Vietnam war was started because of conflicts in values. Democratic and Communist. Most people in Vietnam are Buddhist, Christians, or Taoist. Those three religions aren't extreme to the point where there is major conflicts, so please before you post anything make sure it's at least logically acceptable. As a grade 10 Vietnamese-Canadian student who is studying the 1960's - 1985, I'm pretty sure I'm correct.
Not to be rude, but after reading you list again I found out that there were more errors. WWI started due to the nationalism, imperialism and the assassination of the archduke Franz-Ferdinand and his wife.
I'm not american but I'm guessing the american civil war is the one between the north and south right? And I'm pretty sure that started because of the freedom of slaves or some other reasons but not religion
They may have been reffering to non american wars, e.g. the crusades, muslim european incursions, the never ending war in the mid east.
ANYWAY (how did it get from plants to religion and politics?!) I think this is a wonderful invention, though a much more appreciated one would be G.E. corn that can grow in the desert. Of course, when splicing cactus genes, corn doesn't make much sense seeing as the whole plant is consumed (or rather harvested) and the root systems would be a waste of time. G.E. oranges anyone?
Nice article about a pot that commenters have filled with shit. congrats.
Well said sir!
"Today, one third of the world’s population lives where water is scarce or of poor quality, a number that’s expected to jump to two thirds by 2025. Making matters worse, in some areas deforestation and overfarming have led to eroded soil that can no longer support many crops."
I don't understand how this product is geared towards developing countries and subsistence farmers. This may be helpful for growing trees, but the size and cost of the product are not feasible for crops. Most under served areas of the world that face deforestation and live by subsistence farming do so on 1 USD or less a day.
Even at the cheapest price, buying a 6720 piece package, the pots are 5,99 EU, or ~7.35 USD each, and that's just for one plant! Educating subsistence farmers on methods for preventing deforestation and soil erosion would be more beneficial than convincing them to spend a weeks wages to help grow a single plant.
Don't push your beliefs(obviously you belive in SOMETHING) that organized Religion is the bane of all humanity on everyone and berate him for pushing religion on you - especially when that is not what he was doing. That is so hypocritical. The poster you responded to wasn't even promoting Religion ffs, which you didn't catch for lack of READING past the word "religion". His point was this - "the problem isn't religion, any time someone believes in anything (politics for a perfect example) or feels anything it can lead to evil."
The idea is that evil or conflict is a human condition - not one brought about by religion. If you're going to step in and comment, at least take the time to think things through before you do. My hatred of you for example has absolutely nothing to do with any religious beliefs I may have once had, only your sheer stupidity and waste of my time in reading your comment.
Back to the original story, I am glad to see that something like this has been invented, though I have the feeling even the 7.1 Million development cost was way too much. We need to find better methods of developing new technologies - one that don't cost an arm and a leg, just brain power - like it used to be.
Wow, love how an article about plants turns into a discussion about religion and killing.
You may be right about the $7.1 development costs -- without a breakdown of those costs, we just don't know if it could have been done for less.
However, there's no shortage of "good ideas" in the world. Implementation is the trick. Millions of people have tried for thousands of years, to grow more in dry climates. If this invention works well, it will be a major advancement. Clearly, it's not a simple or completely obvious solution -- otherwise, someone would have perfected it decades or centuries ago.
The potential market for this is huge. If you're planning to sell millions of units of something -- it pays to spend more R&D time and money to optimize the design, and work out the kinks in the manufacturing process. If (say) 10 million units are sold; that works out to only 70 cents/unit for the R&D.
I love things like these, but as someone has already said implementation is key. It is still relatively expensive for any subsistance farmer to buy, but we could buy some through the same organizations that give food and mmedicine to Africa.
On the whole religion vs. atheist thing. There are religious extremeists and atheistic extremeists. Everyone dislikes both.
Not sure how the comments went from this seemingly awesome invention to religion but its probably a good idea to stay on topic.
Anyway, this invention seems really cool and useful. I like that he already though ahead and (apparently) even made the waterboxx biodegradable. Hopefully the price wont be too steep so people from all over the world could use this invention. Not only that but the fact that it can save so much water seems like another very important benefit!
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I cannot comment the discussion on religion as I don't consider myself an expert in this area. As far as I read comments on the box I see that there is some confusion on the costs. For professional users the box is 6 euro. You can plant during 10 years each year one tree. This is 60 cents per tree. In countries with 2 rainseasons one can plant two trees per year so that the costs of planting reduce to 30 cents. Instead of trees or saplings it is also possible to copy nature. Nature doesn't plant trees but seeds. If you plant seeds instead of saplings the costprice of the planting material is almost zero which makes the use of the waterboxx almost cost neutral. This year we're also going to do experiments with mais to sow it in the box and help it only one month during germination. You can sow 4 seeds and do that - between the tropics - 12 times per year. This means that one can plant 48 plants during 10 years = 480 plants with one box. That means that - if the experiments are successfull - I developed a way for poor people to sow their mais and have a 100% planting result for less than 2 cents per plant and a reduced water use of at least 90%. Most of the water gets lost in the first month after sowing while giving water with baskets is very bad for the germination and the oxygen in the soil. If you want to read about costs and profits, please read groasis.com/page/uk/business.php as it will help preventing nonsens that 10 boxes cost 1999 euro. I hope you are all exited as I am and hope that this further explanation helps to get better understandings.
Pieter Hoff, the inventor
Okay I just need to point out that the largest war that took the most human life was the Crusades! I mean come on it's the freaking Crusades, the epitome of forcing one's beliefs upon another. Just putting that out there. Think about it.
How much does it cost in US currency, please. I would order some to plant some chestnut trees here in the US.
Its a brilliant idea.Place enough and the trees will bind the moisture and soon enough you'll have a rainforest.BRILLIANT
Live long and prosper friends.
Thanks for sharing
This year we're also going to do experiments with mais to sow it in the box and help it only one month during germination.
@shadowsurfur It's a tradition here in my country
I was intrigued by this invention, but I wondered whether condensation from the relatively limited surface area of the device could provide sufficient water. It seems to me that condensation would be better if the lid were a dark color. Moreover, I believe that the warm water in the tank (touted as an advantage) would greatly reduce the condensation potential by increasing the temperature of the lid (unless the insulation is much better than it looks). When I read the manual I found that the instructions call for 16 L of water to be added to the device at planting (in addition to 4 L poured directly into the center). If the wick delivers 50 mL per day, as stated, then the water added at planting is sufficient to provide that amount for 320 days, close to the year that the inventor claims is necessary for ensuring tree establishment. This suggests that similar results might be obtained with a simple 'donut' tank containing 16 L of water and the wick, which would be much cheaper than the system shown here.