RESEARCHERS from the Lab4Living at the UK-based Sheffield Hallam University’s Art & design Research Centre are in Delhi with a new concept called Playponics to create hydroponic playground gardens for schools in India. One of their hydroponic playground model was on display at the GRIHA Summit held at India Habitat Centre on Wednesday.
Andrew Stanton, Creative and Technical Researcher, Lab4Living, says, “Playponics combines the benefits of outdoor playing with systems that facilitate sustainable crop production. We achieve this through specially designed playground equipment augmented with mechanisms that capture the child’s ‘play energy’, store that energy, and use it to help irrigate and sustain a variety of hydroponically enabled crops.”
The whole structure has been made using bamboo and low-cost products. Playing equipment like swing sets, roundabouts and barrel runs can be put up in the playground. “But we don’t have a fixed set up in mind for every school. It will be vary as per the kids’ requirements and space available. Child psychology says kids don’t break what they make, so we also plan to involve kids in the making process,” says designer Avika Sood, who is involved in the project. Playponics aims at encouraging physical play that will improve motor skills in children, and generating natural produce for consumption. “We are not product designers, but we work on improving the environment and lifestyle of people,” adds Stanton.
These installations require mechanical, electromechanical and hydroponic systems management and is not
complex. They have created a complete prototype for the schools and institutions interested in it.
Heath Reed, Principle Research Fellow, Lab4Living, says, “Ultimately, our purpose of attending GRIHA (with support of TERI) was to raise awareness about playponics and to attract funding and make schools interested in these installations.”