Life after death is now almost possible, thanks to a new ‘smart’ planter that turns cremated human remains into a tree.

Bios Incube, the brainchild of Barcelona-based design studio Estudio Moline, pairs with a loved one’s smartphone via a WiFi-connected sensor, which monitors the soil’s health and regulates the flow of water from the Incube’s internal tank.

The data is then automatically displayed on the owner’s app, providing information as to how best to care for the incubated plant. Once the sapling makes its way to the surface of the soil, it’s ready to be planted. Pere Vilarrubla, member of the Estudio Moline team, explains why this green method of remembrance is growing on people. 

RELATED: Capsula Mundi burial bags allow corpses to become trees 

What is the story behind Bios Incube? 

After three years of selling and distributing the Bios Urn, some of our clients, especially city dwellers with limited access to natural land, contacted us with the suggestion that we should find a way to let them plant the Bios Urn somewhere close to home – a place where they could take care of the growth of the plant or tree. That's how we came up with the idea of creating an incubator that you can have either at home, in incubation centers or cemeteries. It's the first incubator for the afterlife.

Why do you want to convert cemeteries into forests?

The Earth, especially our cities, is running out of burial space. In many cities it's very expensive and difficult to find a slot for new caskets. We are trying to find a solution for this problem with an affordable and sustainable option to bury our remains and be in touch with our dead loved ones in a way that is significant both for human beings and for the environment.

How does the Bios Incube work?

The Bios Incube is a vessel for tree incubation, and is equipped with a sensor and a built-in irrigation system. The sensor device attaches to the surface of the soil just over the Bios Urn, and is constantly being updated on growth conditions and the status of your tree. The sensors are able to monitor moisture and temperature in the atmosphere and soil, detect levels of light exposure, and assess electrical conductivity. The Bios Incube app enhances the user experience by displaying real-time data, and offering helpful advice. The Bios Incube combines all the collected data from its sensors and takes on an active role in watering and maintaining your tree. When Bios Incube detects the need for hydration, it automatically mobilizes a water pump to nourish the essential parts of the seed.

Can the Bios Incube be used for pets? How?

Yes. The Bios Urn can be used with both human and animal remains. The only difference is the packaging and labeling, to aid in identifying the product. Thus, a Bios Urn with either pet or human ashes can be placed in the Incube.

But what if my tree dies?

The first weeks of the growth of a tree seed are the most important. The Incube has been designed to ensure that everything related to the seed evolution is in perfect conditions (humidity, conductivity, temperature and light exposure).

Does the Bios Incube have to eventually be planted in the ground?

No, the Bios Incube is independent and autonomous and you can keep it anywhere you want as long as the environmental conditions are good. After three to five years, your tree will be big enough and ready to be transplanted into the ground.


What’s inside the Bios Incube

The Bios Incube has sophisticated sensors that are capable of monitoring various elements:

- The soil moisture sensor monitors the levels of water in the soil. In order to grow a healthy tree, humidity levels must be respectful.

- The soil conductivity sensor analyzes the amount of nutrients and fertilizer present in the soil. If the electrical conductivity in your soil is too low, the Bios Incube will let you know the amount of fertilizer your tree needs.

- The soil temperature sensor measures the temperature of the surrounding soil to determine if the temperature is balanced, or if any adjustments need to be made.

- Air temperature and humidity sensors examine the temperature and humidity of the surrounding environment to ensure optimal environmental conditions.

- The solar irradiance sensor tracks the daily sunlight and Vitamin D that your tree requires.

The Bios Incube can store up to three gallons of water, which is enough to nourish your seed or tree for an average of twenty days. The system will also make sure that the water quality is up to par, and is conducive to sprout development.

– By Daniel Casillas