Casemod that grows wheatgrass

Mike Schropp's "BioComputer" is a PC casemod that actually grows wheatgrass, using waste-heat from the computer to provide a hospitable hothouse environment. He's posted detailed build-logs from the project, and plans more ambitious horticulture.

I can’t exactly recall when the idea came to me, but at some point I started wanting to use the heat from a computer as a way to warm the soil and help with germination/growth. I’m about as far from a botanist as it comes, I did some reading online and became pretty interested in the effects of soil temperature on germination/growth. I read different studies and papers from various universities. It was not too long into that process that I became hooked on the idea of using computer heat as a way to control the soil temperature of some sort of living plant life.

As the idea developed further I started looking into wheatgrass as a plant option. There is something clean and natural about the look and idea of a piece of grass growing in my basement. I thought the look would alter the space a little bit and add a bit of color along with something more than just metals and plastics. After reading enough studies and papers on the effects of soil temperature and germination with wheatgrass I felt like I had a good enough handle on the basics to tackle this.

Bio Computer (via Neatorama)


  1. Neat idea, but I would be slightly nervous about the inside cleanliness of the case.  I once worked for a science centre in Canada that has a butterfly exhibit and was asked to find out why one of their old PCs (running for about ten years in an adjacent room, not in the exhibit) wasn’t booting.  Got it back to the shop, found A) a dead butterfly inside, and B) three inches of dirt covering every interior surface, having been blown in from the ventilation fans from the humid, dirt-filled environment next door.  Had to go to the machine shop and use their air compressors to clean it out.

  2. I’m sure I read about other species of plants that also require a warmer environment to grow. Are you sure growing your own wheatgrass is legal? 

    1. Yeah, that’s what I thought about too…that would be a neat way to grow, ahem, medicinal plants without the power company coming to grumble about power use.

  3. A small orchid would work rather nicely, depending on the species. You’d have to do a secondary mod to control the humidity inside a bell jar, but by and large the most important environmental factors for orchid growth are relatively low light, a warm environment, and high humidity.

  4. Huh, I just had a shot of that juice this morning! I was told that the one ounce I had has the same amount of nutrients as four pounds of vegetables. Hard to swallow (ha), but maybe true?

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