sábado, 27 de setembro de 2008

Intelligent plants

If you, like me, love plants in your home but have little knowledge about how to take care of them, you may find this very interesting. I’m never sure when am I supposed to water my plants, and even when I water them, it’s hard to know how much water they need. Each plant has it’s own needs, like us. So, can be tricky to take care of them if you’re not very familiar with botanical stuff.

And there is where this smart project fits in. Using simple components, Botanicalls can make your plant gives you a phone call when it needs to be watered. It also advices you if it has too much water. To make it funnier, each plant has a unique “voice” and “personnality”, so you can really relate to each other in different ways. There is also a “Twitter” version of the system. Instead of making a phone call, the plant posts a message on Twitter. :-D

Plant making a Twitter post
Please, give me some water!

That’s a clever use of technology. Although the initial setup to make things work is not exactly easy to do, once it’s done you might never remember that there is some “computing” going on.

UPDATE: Another “gadget” that uses the same idea, in a more simple way, is Thirsty Light. If soil is too dry, the light blinks. Different states of the light indicates different levels of dryness.

Of course, this gadget wasn’t designed to alert you by phone, like Botanicalls’ solution.

Thristy Light
The Thirsty Light is an intuitive digital plant moisture sensor that blinks an LED to alert the user when it is time to water a potted plant. It is designed to be unobtrusive when left in the soil of a plant, where it continuosly monitors conditions, testing the moisture level once per second. (from Thirsty light website)

Calm techonology on it’s best appliance!

5 comentários
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5 comentários

  1. I was all excited when I read that, thinking it was the best gadget ever! But it’s not. Each plant needs different amounts of water. I know when the soil is dry, I don’t need a blinking light for that. What I need is a blinking light to tell me how dry the soil of that specific plant can get. Someone must make a thirsty light with, say, 3 levels. Then I’ll buy quite a few of them!

    Baxt
    quinta-feira, 16 de outubro de 2008
    11:52
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  2. Baxt! :-)

    I guess you’re right. It seems to me that “Thirsty light” is not a smart object (or at least not so smart!). It measures the soil’s moisture, but I guess it has no awareness about the plant’s particular needs. I think the only possible adjustment is how deep you put the probe. As the soil dries from top to bottom, if you have a plant that needs constant watering, you should put the probe near the surface, as it will dry earlier.

    The “intelligence” is still more in the user than in the gadget.

    Botanicalls, on the other hand, can be customized to each plant’s needs. This means much more trouble to start using it, and it will probably demand some programing that a normal user won’t be able to do alone. But, after these adjustments are set, it will work better. Each plant will be monitored based on it’s particular needs.

    Botanicalls is designed to make phone calls (or twitter updates) but it can’t be difficult to adapt it to some sort of lighting device, like Thirsty Light. It’s just a matter of changing the output. :-)

    Mauro Pinheiro
    quinta-feira, 16 de outubro de 2008
    17:24
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  3. So, I guess the best thing to do is to buy the Botanicalls and find someone to install it for you, in case you are a bit technologically-challenged like me :)
    (but something tells me that even then, my plants may not thrive… I think plants don’t like me…)

    Baxt
    segunda-feira, 20 de outubro de 2008
    10:53
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  4. For what it’s worth, the Thirsty Light does have mutliple levels (5) of sensitivity and blinks faster as the soil gets drier. It can be allowed to blink until it reaches a faster blink rate if you have a plant that needs less water, or you can place the probe shallower for plants that want more.

    So go ahead and buy q few :)

    – inventor of the Thirsty Light

    Chris
    terça-feira, 21 de outubro de 2008
    15:05
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  5. Chris, congratulations on your work! I would probably buy it, if it was available in Brasil, or at least cheaper to have it shiped to our country.

    I just checked the Watering Guide on the website. I guess it’s a matter of knowing the plants you have, to associate their particular needs with the most suitable state of Thirsty Light. Not very easy to track anyway…having to remember which one needs to be watered when the light is in state A, B, C, D or E.

    Anyway, very interesting “invention”. Congrats!

    Mauro Pinheiro
    terça-feira, 21 de outubro de 2008
    21:33
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