For the gardener on the go, a new service for use on mobile devices lets
plants "tell" their owners in real time when they are thirsty and, for
outdoor shrubbery, allows even owners who are far from home to give them
the water they need immediately.
"About a year ago, I got tired of
killing my plants," said Eduardo Torrealba co-founder of Oso
Technologies, the company that created the Plant Link product. This
invention, he said, offered an innovative solution to an age-old
Torrealba and his colleagues created the service using a
combination of soil sensors and software that constantly monitor plant
water levels and send instant alerts telling owners when the plans need
water. Outdoor plants can be watered remotely using an automated valve
linked to a home's water source.
The plant soil sensors take
measurements every five to 10 minutes. The data they gather are then
processed electronically, using an algorithm that also factors in
weather conditions, soil type and geographic location of the plant to
provide highly accurate advice on when to water the plants, Torrealba
Funding allowing Torrealba to launch his new product/service
was obtained through Kickstarter, an online crowd-funding website that
allows budding entrepreneurs to pitch innovative ideas in need of
start-up capital to the general public.
The website allows
participants to pledge funding for projects they deem viable. Those
backers, however, are only asked to provide the funds if financial
pledges from other uses reach the level set by the entrepreneur and that
is necessary to get the project off the ground.
The Plant Link
project received close to $100,000 in donations in approximately one
month of fundraising, surpassing its initial goal of $75,000, according
to figures published on the Kickstarter website.
Users of the
service can opt to "keep in touch" with their plants via text message,
email alerts or by monitoring their plants remotely from a special
Prices for the package are projected to range from $99 to $150 and the first batch is due to be released as early as June.