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CES: Automatic Plant Monitoring Through Your Computer or iPhone (Video)

Roblimo posted about a year ago | from the grow-up-to-the-sky-my-darlings dept.

Hardware 44

Timothy Lord starts this video with these words: "Sensors are a big deal at CES this year. They are small devices that track everything from the location of your pets to how many steps you have taken today." And so he chatted with Phillip Bolliger, founder of Swiss company Koubachi AG, which makes Wi-Fi sensors that help you give your plants the right amount of water and light and to keep them at the right temperature. As of this writing, the prices on their online store are in Euros, not dollars, but the sensors are now available through Amazon with U.S. pricing. Koubachi also has a free app for your iOS device, and a Facebook app for your computer or Android device, that will help you give your plants the right amount of fertilizer and other love even if you don't buy a Koubachi sensor.

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44 comments

Plant as in green leafs, not as in factory (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42682691)

Here I was excited for an app to monitor flow rates and temperatures. But no, it is for those things that make sugar from the sun.

Re:Plant as in green leafs, not as in factory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42682957)

I too expected industrial monitoring instead of how to keep an eye on your pot.

Re:Plant as in green leafs, not as in factory (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#42683007)

People need help getting remote monitoring of factories set up? Maybe I'll get into that, it's so damn easy and obvious you'd think the market would be flooded with options.

Re:Plant as in green leafs, not as in factory (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#42683245)

Please don't. You clearly don't understand the security implications.

Re:Plant as in green leafs, not as in factory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42683923)

I think he did understand the security implications when he said it was "so damn easy and obvious." Nowhere did he say he was going to limit his app to monitoring just your factories, and was talking about an app that would let you monitor any factory you want.

Growing plants eh? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42682719)

Nudge nudge wink wink say no more. Legalize it brah!

It not all waste! (2)

vencs (1937504) | about a year ago | (#42682739)

Finally, all of the Farmville experts have something they can apply their skills to!

Re:It not all waste! (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#42683975)

Finally, all of the Farmville experts have something they can apply their skills to!

Hmm... game plugins for real world application... interesting idea.

$99 for a plant sensor? (4, Insightful)

mrheckman (939480) | about a year ago | (#42682785)

Amazon sells them for $99 a sensor. At that price, I can almost afford to have someone come in and water the plants for me.

Or, better yet, I can just continually get new plants and toss the old ones.

Re:$99 for a plant sensor? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42682981)

or if you actually gave two shits about your plants, you'd be sure to make the time to care for them... ..i've never understood why people consider plants orniments instead of what they really are, STATIONARY PETS

Stationery Pets (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#42684019)

.i've never understood why people consider plants orniments instead of what they really are, STATIONARY PETS

Like these [firstpalette.com]?

Re:$99 for a plant sensor? (1)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | about a year ago | (#42684067)

LOL, yeah, all I did for 10 years was water them when they looked dry. All my plants thrived. When they were 'cared for' by other people? THEN they died. I conclude that plants pretty much want be left alone (OK, I do recomend repotting them maybe every 5-10 years depending on how much they grow. You MIGHT also add a few drops of plant food to their water, maybe once a year or so).

Re:$99 for a plant sensor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42683989)

More shit for the tip. For the Swiss, Mehr Mist für die Müllhalde.

Re:$99 for a plant sensor? (1)

plover (150551) | about a year ago | (#42684115)

At first, I thought it was a neat idea. We have an orchid collection, and various species have unique and complex natural watering requirements, such as dry winters, rainy seasons, lithophytes that live with roots in streams, epiphytes with roots hanging on tree branches. And we have them in a variety of media, including mounted on cork bark, potted in bark, potted in clay pellets, potted in sphagnum moss, climbing on tree fern. We have dozens in high humidity habitats. All of these factors affect how fast the roots dry out. Making sure that each species gets watered according to a unique schedule that matches each plant's natural habitat is crucial to getting many of them to bloom. And this would be a really useful tool to measure moisture during a healthy growth cycle to be able to replicate it.

But with a collection of over 200 plants, I think price is kind of a deal breaker.

LOL (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42682937)

More pointless Slashvertisements. You guys that hard up for money?

This is sold out... (2)

diarrhea-uh-uh (1373577) | about a year ago | (#42682939)

in Colorado and Washington.

Re:This is sold out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42683037)

In other news, pizza sales are booming in the same states. Experts are trying to find a link...

Re:This is sold out... (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#42683273)

If you're going to make a pot joke, at least let it make sense: Amazon is a national distributor of goods. The key word is national. Now back to the bango drums!

cheaper DIY? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42682947)

Assuming one does want a gadget solution to the "problem" of not taking care of houseplants, it's probably cheaper to roll your own Raspberry Pi or Arduino solution than to spend $100 on this thing.

Re:cheaper DIY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42688235)

Now all you need are multiple sensors to plug into your Raspberry Pi (temperature, moisture, light intensity), a power cable, a SD card, and the information and programming to assess what the sensor readings mean as they apply to your plant.

golf course (1)

us7892 (655683) | about a year ago | (#42682955)

Would be good to monitor various locations on a golf course for turf management. If it were hardened for the weather....

Facebook app? (3, Insightful)

Scutter (18425) | about a year ago | (#42682995)

Saying "...and a Facebook app for Android users" is the same as saying "Android is not supported". Seriously, I have no interest in using Facebook for anything, let alone as an interface to a third-party.

Re:Facebook app? (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#42683457)

Well on the other hand, signing up your plants for Facebook accounts is likely to be far more entertaining than the usual drivel posted on Facebook.

Re:Facebook app? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42684157)

I have no iOS devices, no phones or tablets -- therefore each day I become an ever lower class of citizen. This is the NEW digital divide! Entire groups of the populace are becoming locked out of opportunities. The government owes me an iPhone and iPad to help bridge this ever widening divide! Everyday there is an article about this app or that app, but feeding my children is a higher priority.

What plant is worth this? (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | about a year ago | (#42683161)

So what plant is worth all this technology? Hmm... I'll bet it is a Weed...

Re:What plant is worth this? (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#42684279)

Some varieties of grapes, vegetables, etc. have a very short harvesting window. A day or two either way and you lose a lot of flavour and you won't fetch top dollar at the market.

Re:What plant is worth this? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#42689213)

Some varieties of grapes, vegetables, etc. have a very short harvesting window. A day or two either way and you lose a lot of flavour and you won't fetch top dollar at the market.

If you're growing produce for sale, it's unlikely you're going to piss off on holiday and forget to water the fucking things. We all know that this kit is for people growing marijuana, so I expect it will come complete with a hidden transmitter straight to the government if it detects any pot.

How About a kickstart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42683271)

This one http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1387729422/plant-link-listen-to-your-plants?ref=live
Seems better to me and cheaper

What would be really useful (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year ago | (#42683569)

Is a cheap dumb sensor that you could deploy in a mesh network in orchards and farms. $99 isn't even worth the cost of replacing a single plant, unless it's a rare plant and then you're probably already observant enough to notice when a plants leaves aren't full and it needs water.

Or just use appropriate plants. I did experiments on spider plants, given the right root system and humidity I went 6 months without watering one of them before it started getting nutrient deficient.

If you need this.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42683607)

http://www.education.com/science-fair/article/wifi-radiation/
http://phys.org/news/2010-11-dutch-wi-fi-possibly-trees.html

Enough with the gadgets you fucking nerds! God damn

Yeah, I'm sure this will get used for Tulips... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42683759)

And not for growing pot. Seriously, who the fuck besides botanists and home marijuana growers would need this?

Too expensive (3, Insightful)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year ago | (#42683867)

They should be selling for $20 not $100. I might understand if it actually controlled the watering and fertilizing. You're paying a $100 for something that will tell you while you are on vacation, "oh by the way your plant is dying". Most of the others cost $10 to $20 they just lack the iOS app. I made an automatic watering pot out of a used soda bottle and it would keep the plants watered for a week and didn't cost a dime. The joke is it actually watered the plants. If you are going to sell automated systems make it do some form of automation!

Re:Too expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42686339)

Not that expensive when it allows you to be only twice at your weed plantage, for planting and for harvesting. When you're not there when the cops arrive it was a good investment.

Some suggestions for video (0)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about a year ago | (#42684025)

Slashdot, you're really not hitting the high registers with these videos.

A video of people talking is good, but you need to punch it up a little. Use some powerpoint-style slides with text bullet points, then have the speaker read out the text as the audience follows along.

Here's an example [hackaday.com] of what *not* to do.

All that action and movement does little to enhance the video, and the scripted text makes it seem somehow terse. Don't do that - the discluencies - "ah", "uhmmm", "you know", and so on - are what make the speech sound normal. Drag the dialogue out a little!

And the cuts! A dozen or more different scenes in the example video doesn't add to the experience - just use one or two as you are currently doing. Showing someone flipping screens on a tablet is good - we need more articles about apps and products that people can purchase.

And be sure to put your video intro at the front every time. That way if the viewer is uninterested in the video, at least they will have spent the time looking at your logo.

Overall though, it's a pretty good video. Keep up the good work! It's hard to find videos of interest to tech people [hackaday.com].

Plant Link via Kickstarter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42684947)

There is an alternative on Kickstarter called Plantlink. For $100 you get three sensors and a base station. The base station also controls valves for automatic watering.

What's it for? (1)

Rudisaurus (675580) | about a year ago | (#42685353)

What kind of plants are we talking about here: Gas plants? Manufacturing plants? Pharmaceuticals plants?

House plants? WTF???

Oh yeah, it's an iPad ... lightweight.

Wrong product (1)

jandersen (462034) | about a year ago | (#42688557)

At first I was quite excited about this thing, as I have been looking for something like this for a long time, but it is one of these things that are "almost, but not quite unlike tea" (from HHGG I believe).

Background: I grow orchids; a lot of them. It isn't hard, I've got a conservtory for that, but when you grow things in a small, confined space, the microclimate becomes very important - or perhaps that should be nano-climate, since it can vary widely over a few 10s of centimetres.

So, what I have been looking for is a sensor that can measure temperature, air-humidity, wind-speed and pressure, and is cheap enough that I can deploy one per plant. They should be networked and powered over a thin wire and be able to deliver their data up about once a minute or so.

Alas, the thing they produce doesn't fit.

Aerogarden (2)

alexandre_ganso (1227152) | about a year ago | (#42688999)

For this price, I can buy an aerogarden, which comes with the water deposit, water pumps, lights and even comes with some seeds inside an optimized growing medium and fertilizer, besides being an aeroponics system, with a lot of advantages over growing stuff on dirt.

Even for those pot growers this is not a good idea.

How much ? (1)

TractorBarry (788340) | about a year ago | (#42689329)

having looked at the web site the device costs about 75 euros. To do a job that I can do myself by simply looking at my plants and adding water/feed as required.

Oh well, if you've got money to burn...

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