Emerging Tech

Is your soil moist? Ask the 10-inch sensor


As a relatively new home owner, I've decided that I really enjoy planting things and watching them grow. However, my thumbs are every color but green, and I'm clueless when it comes to plant TLC. Fortunately, I have technology on my side. It looks like a plant sensor, created by a company that's fittingly called PlantSense, will be available in the fall of 2007. See the news story: "Sensor battles senseless houseplant death."   

According to the story, "Killing plants is one of America's favorite pastimes. In 2003, Americans spent $18 billion on indoor and outdoor plants, not including grass. That's $160 per household, on average. Roughly 14 percent of plants die in the first few weeks after being bought, and another 18 percent die within five months. That 32 percent mortality rate partly explains why Americans also spent $23 billion on fertilizer and plant food in that same year."

So, what is PlantSense and how does it work? "The San Francisco-based start-up has developed a 10-inch, stake-shaped sensor that obtains information about light, moisture, soil composition and other factors that can affect plant growth and health. The sensor is placed a few inches into the soil and connected to a computer, via a USB interface, where it downloads the information to PlantSense's Web site. PlantSense can then tell users what they're doing wrong (too much sunlight, not enough fertilizer, etc.) as well as provide recommendations on what plants might grow best in a particular microclimate in a home or garden."

Sounds pretty sweet, doesn't it? In 2008, my plants will be the envy of the neighborhood. If you're sick and tired of your plants being sick and tired, why don't you use some sense.... PlantSense!

About

Sonja Thompson has worked for TechRepublic since October of 1999. She is currently a Senior Editor and the host of the Smartphones and Tablets blogs.

6 comments
stress junkie
stress junkie

You certainly have high expectations of this miraculous sensor. It sounds to me like just another of the hundreds of products available to help people avoid killing their plants. This one has a USB interface. Except for that you can find lots of items at your local garden center that make the same promise. Light meters, moisture meters, automatic watering aparatae, plant food tablets and sticks that regulate the rate that food is dispersed into the soil; you can spend a lot of money and your plants won't benefit at all. Keep us posted. This could be the very first plant gadget that actually works as advertised. :D

onbliss
onbliss

...I don't need.

stress junkie
stress junkie

I have purchased a lot of plants over the years; both indoor and garden plants. I found that if you acquire enough different plants some of them will survive the way that you treat them, even if 90% of your plants die. Over time you end up with a good sized collection that survives. It's a little bit expensive but that's the secret to my success. I'm very proud that so far I haven't made any lewd remarks about my ten inch sensor!!! :D

Sonja Thompson
Sonja Thompson

Didn't you guys see the blog post about my new title as Ethics Officer? I wouldn't DREAM of making such a provocative connotation. ;-)

stress junkie
stress junkie

Sonja doesn't think about naughty bits. It's just a coincidence that the title sounded a bit suggestive. Okay. Very suggestive.

onbliss
onbliss

...the subject was intentionally suggestively titled. :-) As a kid, I used to plant a few outdoor garden plants. As kids we had a funny superstition. We were never supposed to point out the plants, that we planted, with our fingers. We feared that they young plants would never grow up and they would just wither away even after all tender care. So if by mistake we pointed them out, we were supposed to bite our fingers :-)

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