Printable Garden

Printable Garden is a new 3D printing technology that enables automated digital fabrication of freeform hydroponic gardens, lush with herbs, shrubs, and flowers. The gardens are fabricated primarily as fine geometric structures of specialized plastic material (that act as soil substitutes); additional components can be printed simultaneously to give structural integrity and also to control water flow within the gardens. The technology is highly scalable, and can theoretically print out not only tiny gardens to adorn tabletops but also rooftop farms, vertical gardens, and perhaps even small parks. A custom modeling software allows users to easily design gardens with various shapes and plant layouts. In the future, I believe the technology can be further extended to fabricate complex ecosystems involving diverse flora and fauna.

Initiatives to promote DIY urban design (such as the Groundplay program in San Francisco) are now being introduced in numerous cities around the world. 3D printable gardens should be able to further accelerate such efforts, enabling motivated citizens to play increasingly larger roles in the design of their neighborhoods.



Takeuchi, Y. Printable Hydroponic Gardens: Initial Explorations and Considerations. In Ext. Abst. (alt.chi) of the 34th ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2016). pp.449-458. Download (PDF, 2.8MB)