We aren't sure what exactly it is about miniaturization that makes it so fascinating— probably something slightly depressing about the psychology of cuteness and a human need to feel that we have dominion over nature—but that doesnt' change the fact that it is. Though not a bonsai tree, a toy puppy, or a tiny replica of designer furniture, The Micro Grow Project demonstrates this miniphilia once again with Pocket Grow, a tiny hydroponic grow box that uses LED's to provide light and a small circuit to control watering cycles. This all mixes together to produce, for example, a small herb. The system is made of a few distinct elements: the LabBox Grower itself, with specially selected high intensity LEDs and a nutrient delivery mechanism; the LabBox brain, a controller that automates watering cycles, light schedules, and temeratires; and finally, an iPhone (surprise), through which the whole thing is controlled. Oh, and it's twitter enabled, so that you can get live updates from your baby plants. Also, full discolsure, the box is not so small that you won't be able to see what you're growing—the dimensions are listed as 5.4"x5.2"x1.44."
So, why grow a tiny plant? Other than for the sheer joy of it, Micro Grow's goal is to "create a collaborative agricultural containment experiment that promotes education, sustainable bio technologies and agriculture technologies." The idea seems to be that by distributing and using these tiny systems, we, as a community, can understand and eventually contribute to design innovations in micro-agriculture.The Pocket Grows aren't available yet, but they're coming early in 2011, so keep an eye out here.