Grow Your Own

Hyunseok An | MID 20 Industrial Design

As grad student Hyunseok An MID 20 enters his final year at RISD, he’s intent on creating tools that resonate deeply with users and “make long-lasting impressions on society.”

Consider his micro-algae farming kit, The Coral, which is grabbing the attention of DIY health food enthusiasts even before its official release. Both Dwell and Fast Company have already heralded An’s kitchen-friendly system for growing algae as a healthy food additive as “shockingly easy” to use.

An’s wall-mounted bioreactor produces blue-green micro-algae, or spirulina, which is packed with protein and vitamins.

The benefits of the wall-mounted bioreactor are clear: first, the algae cleanses the air around it of harmful CO2 molecules as it grows (at 10 times the rate of a typical houseplant).

While adding a bit of natural wonder to often sterile apartment living, it also produces two grams of blue-green micro-algae (also known as spirulina) every day, providing growers with a healthy dose of protein and vitamins that boost the immune system.

The Coral is comprised of 16 cells, which are seeded with a pinch of micro-algae, purified water, salt and algae food. As an electric pump draws in carbon dioxide, it allows the algae to grow and become increasingly green—and lovely to watch—over the course of two weeks, at which point it’s ready to be harvested.

An recommends staggering the growth cycle so that a three-gram serving of the superfood is ready for a daily dose of goodness. Then just add it to baked goods, smoothies and other healthy concoctions, he urges—and live long and prosper.

A short video shows just how easy it is to use The Coral.

Simone Solondz