Those of you with a green thumb might wonder why technology seems to improve everything around us except the growth of plants, and why there isn’t “an app for that” when it comes to tracking your garden. Well hold on, because it looks like that time has finally arrived.
Developed by French technology group Parrot, the “Flower Power” is a new sensor for your garden that links up with a smartphone or tablet and monitors just how well your plants are going.
Designed to be used with either the potted or ground-based plants, the Flower Power is a tall sensor that runs on a single AAA battery and analyses soil moisture, fertiliser, ambient temperature, and light intensity, and then sends this information to an application running on a smartphone or tablet for analysis.
The sensor has been designed to be light-weight, water-resistant, and highly temperature resistant, too, meaning it should survive a downpour as well as the heaviest sun-filled days, just like your plants.
Once it’s sitting side by side with your plants, the app can work out whether your monitored plant needs immediate watering or fertilisation, or even whether it would be suited to being put under some shade of heat immediately.
Multiple Flower Power sensors can be set up in a garden, too, making it possible to monitor every plant, bush, or tree independently, as if you were there with your thumb in the ground the entire time.
More than 6000 plant species are supported, a list compiled by a team of international botanists, with the information tailored to work with whatever plant your monitoring.
While the idea has merit, the price and hardware requirements might be a little limiting, at least in the initial stages of the product.
At its first release, Parrot has priced the Flower Power at $79.99 per unit, effectively making it an $80 purchase per plant you’re planning to monitor. We’re sure some green thumbs will see this as a bargain, especially if they’re serious gardeners, while others will just write this off as a gimmick, a green gimmick at that.
There’s also the hardware requirement, and at this point in time, Parrot’s Flower Power is only compatible with the iPad 3 and above on the tablet side of things, and the iPhone 4S and above on the smartphone side.
Information about the Flower Power suggests it relies on Bluetooth Smart technology, of which Apple does support, though as we pointed out in Livescribe’s similarly iOS-only recent platform release, there are plenty of other Android devices that support Bluetooth Smart, and even a few on the Windows side, too.
There are plenty more devices out there than just the iPhone and iPad, and companies cannot focus on one app ecosystem anymore, so while we know that Parrot is working on an Android application, not even having one ready at the time of release does strike us just a little silly.
If neither the price or current hardware limitations are an issue for you, Parrot does say its Flower Power will be available in stores in November for $79.99, while the app will be free from Apple’s AppStore.
Update (November 14): Parrot has come back to us with more on Android support, telling us it will be added for Android 4.3 devices, with an app released later on.