SAUSALITO, CALIF.—CREO, a green tech company on a mission to make buildings healthier and more resilient, unveiled the BioBulb technology platform, a smart, green living system that offers a sustainable solution for growing nature indoors and in environments with scarce resources. The system uses artificial intelligence (AI) to learn the optimal growth for a plant within its surroundings and autonomously infuses it with the precise amount of water and nutrients it needs. BioBulb is a virtually zero-waste system and uses up to 80 percent less water than existing high-tech hydroponic solutions with the potential to save thousands of gallons of water a year per installation.
Throughout history, the building industry has adopted layers of technology as its integral anatomy from masonry and piping to electricity and heating. Now buildings are introducing smart technologies, but there has yet to be a fully integrated, sustainable solution for growing nature indoors. Through a deep learning and understanding of nature and uncontrolled environments, CREO is introducing integrated nature to buildings and providing a new way to improve Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ).
“Humans have an innate need to be surrounded by nature, but we spend 90 percent of our time indoors. We are on a mission to bring nature to people,” said Hooman Koliji, PhD, CEO and founder of CREO. “To recreate nature indoors, we needed to learn from nature; how it works, survives, and evolves in changing environments. Our solution is a biomimetic system; a smart network of growing nodes, nutrient veins, and neurological data pathways, that altogether create an indoor distributed nature.”
A Virtually Zero Waste System
BioBulb is a virtually zero waste system—zero fresh water waste, zero nutrient waste, and zero nutrient-rich water waste. Compared to high-tech hydroponic solutions that are constantly circulating water, the BioBulb system uses precision feeding and only waters and provides nutrients when needed. As a result, the system moves the least amount of water, using up to 80 percent less water and up to 50 percent less energy to operate the system. The patented technology for the distribution of water, nutrients, and data is like nature’s underground root systems.
BioBulb was built to sustain the diversity of nature’s ecosystem, also known as a polyculture. CREO’s AI software Darwin, learns the optimal growth of each plant in various contexts and optimizes the use of resources, and provides insights to the future of a plant’s growth indoors. The BioBulb system uses three different groups of sensors to monitor a plant’s vitals—one in the roots to check temperature, pH level, humidity and nutrients, another monitors the leaf’s surface and observes light density, and the third measures the ambient environment surrounding the plant. It also has a computer vision camera that visually detects the plant’s growth.
BioBulb is a modular, agile system, with numerous ways to integrate it into buildings, such as a lobby wall or conference room ceiling. It can be expanded to different locations in the building, all while being centrally controlled. Smart tubes connect the BioBulb to the BioServer, which is hooked up to the building’s water source. Through the sensors, it understands the plant’s needs and acts as a precision feeder, by printing nutrients into a stream of water that infuses it directly into the plant.
“Learning from nature, then augmenting environments where nature cannot extend, is also an important step to preserving our natural ecosystem. We’re building a library of living things, a library of nature,” said Marc Shillum, investor and CXO. “Nature has also taught us to place sustainability at the heart of the system. Too many so called advances in hydroponics have been built on the unachievable dream of infinite resources. Our hope is by creating smart sustainable biological building blocks for the architects of the future, we will all be able to build a world we all actually want to inhabit.”
CREO will initially serve the commercial building and real estate market, with plans to move into residential real estate, agriculture and space industries. For more information visit www.biobulb.io.