January 10, 2013
CES 2013: Favorite Practical Gadget? Flower Power!
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Are you a green thumb at heart, but don't have the wherewithal to keep your garden alive each year? Well, Parrot showed off a new product at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show that will be coming out this year and just may be your solution.
The Parrot Flower Power was one of my favorite gadgets seen at the convention center this year here in Las Vegas. Parrot's device makes keeping up with your flowerbed, or garden, easy, and without the need to read an instruction manual on each flower to do so.
Flower Power is a wireless plant sensor that helps keep track of the soil around your plant and provides feedback to let you know exactly what you need to do to keep the particular plant species alive.
An engineer for Parrot showing off the product to me said they have a database of 6,000 plants developed by botanists, which helps them know exactly what needs to be done to keep them alive. All you need is the Flower Power, an iPhone or iPad, and Bluetooth connectivity.
Once you've installed the Flower Power by a plant in your garden, or a potted plant in your house, just download the app and then you can rely on Parrot to keep you informed on what to do next.
Flower Power measures sunlight, soil moisture, temperature and fertilizer, and knows, based on what plant, exactly what needs to be done to keep it alive. The application for the device connects to a cloud server, which relays information back to you, letting you know whether you need to water the plant, add more fertilizer, be mindful of the temperature or sunlight exposure.
If a plant is beginning to get a little low on water, the app gives a yellow warning icon to let you know about how long you can wait until the next watering. Once the icon turns red, then you better give that plant a little H2O before its too late.
Push notifications can help to remind you that the plant is getting a little low on one of its essential elements, making it a lot easier to maintain without worry. The engineer told me that the number one cause of deaths among plants is actually over-watering, so this app strives to help stop that by letting you know when the plant needs a little more water.
Flower Power uses Bluetooth 4.0 for connectivity, which makes keeping Bluetooth turned on a little easier on your battery. The advanced plant sensor's battery life is up to six months, and it just takes a single AAA battery.
The Parrot engineer said that, theoretically, there could be up to 1,000 devices used at once. However, he said that really it is more of an iPad capability that limits using too many products, not so much whether their network could handle it. Ideally, you would buy a few to spread out around the garden to different varieties of plants you hope to keep alive.
Parrot's plant savior comes in two colors, emerald and wood, and will be available sometime in the coming year. As a spokesperson for the company said at the booth, "you never know with engineers."