June 24, 2024


Technological development

How ‘Bout a Tube of Vines Growing Around Your Computer Screen?


Struggling to feel connected to nature while stuck behind a computer screen all day long? The Monitree feels your pain and isolation. So, instead of encouraging you to just go outside on your lunch break, it brings the outside to you with a terrarium wrapped around your computer screen featuring real growing vines inside.

The Monitree (which is not to be confused with mythical money trees that grow cold hard cash) is in essence a customizable terrarium that frames a monitor, an all-in-one computer like Apple’s iMacs, or anything that’s more or less rectangular in shape like a framed painting. It’s assembled from a series of adjustable clear plastic tubes that allow the Monitree to grow or shrink to fit around screens roughly 24 to 27-inches in size, while holes along its length allow air to get in or users to stick their fingers inside to interact with the growing plants.

A small waterproof receptacle on either side holds fertilizer, water, and soil for the vine to take root. Roughly once a week the water level needs to be topped off using an included 8 ml syringe, but the creators of the Monitree insist there’s no risk of the water getting in contact with the computer the terrarium is mounted to.

Since many of us spend our days trapped under the glare of corporate fluorescent lighting away from windows and natural light, the Monitree comes with its own full spectrum LED grow light to help the plants along that draws power from a computer’s USB port. The Monitree is expected to take around 10 months to spread its vines to completion, so patience isn’t included but is highly recommended. And if you’re struggling to get your plants to grow, there’s even a mobile app that can be used to snap and upload a photo of your struggling greenery where its progress can be assessed by those with a green thumb who will make suggestions on how to improve the TLC you’re giving it.

The Monitree is being realized through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign that long ago blew past its $5,000 funding goal. The cheapest option is the $49 Single Monitree which only wraps two sides of a screen and features a single soil cup. But for the full effect, you’ll probably want to opt for the pricier $59 Double Monitree which wraps the terrarium all the way around to the other side. This is where we normally caution our readers to be very careful when backing crowdfunded products, particularly in a time when supply chain issues are still frustrating the largest corporations on Earth. But the Monitree is really just nothing more than a series of plastic tubes, and its creators have already made successful prototypes, so as crowdfunded products go, this one seems to come with minimal risk—but there’s always risk.


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