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Ronan Mc Dermott, Niamh Mc Dermott and Niall Mc Dermott with their ForFit app which allows you to challenge friends to get Fit or Forfeit at the Web Summit in Dublin

Ronan Mc Dermott, Niamh Mc Dermott and Niall Mc Dermott with their ForFit app which allows you to challenge friends to get Fit or Forfeit at the Web Summit in Dublin

Lauri Kapp and Gregory Lu from NATUFIA  at the Web Summit in Dublin

Lauri Kapp and Gregory Lu from NATUFIA at the Web Summit in Dublin

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Ronan Mc Dermott, Niamh Mc Dermott and Niall Mc Dermott with their ForFit app which allows you to challenge friends to get Fit or Forfeit at the Web Summit in Dublin

LAZY gardeners can rejoice - an 'automatic garden' is among the hundreds of startups vying for investment at this year's Web Summit.

Designed by Estonian duo Lauri Kapp and Gregory Lu, the innovation is a self-sustaining eco-system which provides all the minerals, water and food your plants need to flourish.

"The automatic garden grows your salads, your herbs, your tomatoes and it's all completely automatic so you don't have to do anything," Lauri explained of the impressive-looking contraption that has a series of cup-like holders where seeds can be planted.

"Each cup is connected to the mains so water flows in and we provide growth medium and nutrients. Once you put these in to the cups you don't have to do anything for months. It will even send you an email if you are low on nutrients," he said.

The food for the apparatus, called Natufia, is all available online and the size and shape of the model can be adapted from home-to-home.

"It can be retro-fitted or custom-made to fit your home or apartment so it can be integrated into any home," Lauri added.

He explained both he and his now-friend Gregory had both been working on the same idea for the kitchen, and rather than oppose each other, decided "two heads were better than one".

÷ Fitness and forfeits are at the heart of the McDermott siblings' startup. The aptly named Forfit takes inspiration from the Ice Bucket Challenge internet craze and is a mobile application for iPhone.

The app allows friends and family to challenge one another to, for example, a run or cycle, with potentially embarrassing consequences for those not brave enough to accept.

"You sign in through Facebook and it can track your progress through GPS," explained Ronan (28) from Rathfarnham in south Dublin.

"If you don't complete the challenge then you have to carry out a forfeit. It could be a social forfeit like posting an embarrassing picture of you or something like that."

However, those unwilling to put their bodies to the test can opt out by selecting the white flag icon. Those who take that option make a small donation - with 65pc of all proceeds going towards cancer research.

The siblings, who have a passion for web and online development, say the idea came about last November when older brother Niall asked "what about an app that essentially blackmails you into doing something but means people donate to charity".

Ronan added: "Cancer awareness is something that is close to our heart and is something everybody can relate to."

The free app goes live on Friday and the McDermotts say they will offer 10pc of their business for €80,000.

÷ Friends Shihab Zafar and Asif Anwar, from Bangladesh, are on a mission to cut out business cards with their business networking site FetchPIN.

"There's 27 million business cards being printed everyday in the US alone, but 80pc are thrown away.

"This manages all your contacts and has a search function which makes it easier to find someone in particular industries," Shihab said.

Irish Independent