Koubachi Plant Sensor: Tells you what your plants are thinking

It’s that time of year when thoughts turn to gardening – the most famous flower show in the year at Chelsea has just ended and the Royal Horticultural Society’s programme of flower shows is in full swing.

But do you ever wonder why that generic houseplant on the windowsill always looks so sickly, or why you can’t get your plant to produce just one flower?

Koubachi-in-Room

Maybe the Koubachi Plant Sensor could come to the rescue – it promises to let you know what your plant really needs, thanks to a Wi-Fi Plant Sensor, that is placed in the soil around the plant, and an iPhone app.

Sounds a tad over the top to us, but it did win the 2012 Red Dot Design award, so surely must have some merit.

Let’s find out some more…

The built-in Wi-Fi module within the plant sensor enables data to be sent to the Koubachi Cloud, where it is analysed based on scientific care models developed in cooperation with leading biologists. Then, the detailed instructions on how to care for your plant will be sent to you via the Koubachi iPhone App or Web App. One Koubachi Wi-Fi sensor can be used to monitor and set up alerts for all your household plants.

Koubachi-Box

The sensor can monitor all your plants needs including:

1) Watering: the moisture sensor ensures effective plant watering and prevents over-watering.

2) Temperature: The temperature sensor monitors ambient surroundings ensuring that your plants are placed in ideal temperature environments and will let you now if it is too cold or hot.

3) Light intensity: The light intensity sensor ensures that you know whether your plants are in the right place to promote healthy growth.

4) Fertilising: Based on the individual plant care model for your plant species, Koubachi gives timed fertiliser notifications.

5) Misting: Some plants only thrive if misted regularly – Koubachi knows whether your plant needs misting and will tell you.

And where does the name come from? Back in the time when the founders were looking for a name, they made an analogy to the once-famous Tamagotchi – as they thought it quickly explains the concept in a nutshell. They learned that -chi is the diminutive in Japan. They looked up what plant means in Japanese – apparently Kouba – and then created Koubachi.

Can we look forward to any other gadgets from the same designers? Aparently so, they told us: “We believe in our vision of an internet of things. We are already working on subsequent product ideas drawing on our platform. An idea could be an interactive “room climate sensor” (with humidity, noise sensor etc.) which is quite close to the current product. Other ideas are an interactive “wine cellar sensor”, a “terrarium sensor” or a sensor to help you take care of your pool.”

The Koubachi apps can also be used without a sensor. They are free but the Wi-Fi Plant Sensor costs £99 from http://store.koubachi.com, which includes a lifelong free subscription to the Koubachi system, including regular updates of the apps and the plant library.

More at www.Koubachi.com

Grand Designs Live: Garden Gadgets

Gardening may be about getting back to basics, back to nature and being at one with the earth – but the good news for all you gadget lovers is that you can still enjoy a technological treat even if you’re out in the great outdoors. This week’s Grand Designs Live show features a number of products designed to make gardening easier.

Click-and-Grow

For anyone who enjoys plants, but can’t cope with the whole business of looking after them, the answer comes in the shape of the Click & Grow. This flowerpot takes care of the whole plant growing process – if a plant is growing in the Click & Grow, it won’t need watering or fertilising (great if you go away a lot). The flowerpot features sensors, a microprocessor and special software, which take care of all the plant’s needs.

Inside each Click 7 Grow flowerpot sits a plant cartridge, which has everything you need – including seeds, nutrients and software. Rather like a printer cartridge, you slot it into the flowerpot and it takes care of everything you need to grow a plant.

If you want to be a bit more involved, but don’t know whether you’re over- or under-watering or have put your plants in the right place, you need the EasyBloom Plant Sensor. The sensor can tell you if the plant needs more or less water, or whether it needs to be moved to a different area with alternative light conditions, or different soil conditions.

Grand-Designs-Live-Gardens-Automower

If mowing the lawn is one job you hate, you can get an automated mower to do it for you. The Solar Hybrid Automower from Husqvarna uses both solar and battery power. This robotic mower does the job for you – once you have set up the guide wires – so you can get on with something more enjoyable, like sitting on the patio with a long cool drink. It can even send you a text message if its operation gets interrupted for some reason. And it’s so clever that it will even find its own way back to a charging station when it gets low on juice. It’s also a greener option than a petrol mower as it is emission-free. Mind you, you’ll really have to hate mowing lawns to splash out more than two grand on this gadget.

And to keep your drinks cool so that you can enjoy them al fresco, how about the External Refrigerator, which fits to an outside wall? During the night, or in cold weather, the external temperatures are used to keep the contents cool, while in the daytime and warmer weather, energy is provided through its solar panels.

For more on the Grand Designs Live show and the products featured, head to www.granddesignslive.com