A student at a UK university has designed a simple and cheap kit for growing vegetables without soil and very little water.
Nikian Aghababaie, a student at Nottingham Trent University, designed the kit after researching 30 year’s worth of NASA papers on the subject, which originally looked at how to feed astronauts in space.
With an up to 90% reduction in water than traditional farming, the invention is being heralded as useful to a huge number of people living in arid and semi-arid areas.
The device works by growing seedlings or cuttings of vegetable plants in a chamber in which their air-suspended roots are periodically misted with a nutrient solution, similar to hydroponics but with a fraction of the water required.
Nikian teamed up with the charity EcoSwell, based in northern Peru, to help test the device with local school kids. His project is ongoing and while he’s teaching the kids to use his new invention he’s also working to upscale the design to be useful in large-scale agriculture.