Spira is a countertop device that can be used to grow algae at home—specifically, nutrient-dense spirulina. The blue-green algae is exceptionally rich in protein, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants—so much so that NASA uses it as a key food source for astronauts.
The countertop system, a photobioreactor, uses light to cultivate algae so that it can be consumed on a daily basis. Spira is designed to produce about two tablespoons of fresh spirulina daily, which can easily be added to everything from smoothies and salads to a variety of sauces for a nutritional boost. Unlike commercially produced spirulina, which can have an off-putting taste, fresh spirulina is said to be tasteless.
University of Leeds graduate Rob Russell designed Spira as part of a Product Design course and intends to continue to develop "living systems to address current social and environmental needs."