Plants are really good at converting sunlight into energy. While we wait for human-designed solar cells to catch up, one European startup is developing a device-charging gadget that depends on plants to do the hard work.

As Mashable reports, Bioo Lite uses a cell at the bottom of a high-tech planter to harness the power of photosynthesis. According to the product's Indiegogo page, the gadget processes the "photosynthetic substances" expelled by the roots of the plant above it. You can see a breakdown of the technology in the video above.

The top of the planter contains fake rocks, one of which is outfitted with a USB port. It provides a similar USB charge to a laptop or desktop, and is capable of delivering three full recharges to a tablet or smartphone in 24 hours.

Other plant-powered devices have been developed in the past. A few years back a Swiss designer figured out how to use the electrons produced by moss to power a radio, but we have a feeling that a product that powers phones will be of more interest to today's consumers.

Bioo Lite's Indiegogo campaign has already been funded more than three times over, and a pledge of $135 reserves backers a planter with shipping estimated for this December.

Header/banner images courtesy of Bioo via YouTube.

[h/t Mashable]