A gadget for green thumbs: Parrot’s Flower Power garden monitor reviewed
4.2Overall Score

Price (RRP): $80
Manufacturer: Parrot

The green thumbs out there don’t often get a lot of gadgets to play with, but Parrot’s Flower Power aims to change that, with a new type of toy that will help them work out how to get the best results out of their garden.

What is it?

Unlike any other gadget we’ve seen, Parrot’s Flower Power is a device designed to monitor the moisture, temperature, sunlight, and fertiliser found in the soil of parts of your garden, and send that information to your device where it will be analysed in the cloud and related back to the type of plant you’re tracking.

The Flower Power does this through a combination of sensors running on a single AAA battery, which is easily replaced, and sent using Bluetooth Smart, a part of the Bluetooth 4.0 standard.

Currently, Parrot’s Flower Power only supports iOS, and requires either an iPhone 4S, 5, 5C, or 5S, or an iPad 3 or higher, which includes the iPad Mini models. An iPad 2 will not work with the Parrot Flower Power.

Android is also not yet supported, though Parrot says support will be coming eventually on Android 4.3 “Jelly Bean” devices.

Performance

Can technology help you raise a better plant?

That’s the question Parrot is asking with the Flower Power, a unique concept that throws sensor technology into a small tree-shaped stick of plastic, designed to monitor sunlight and soil, taking the information, coordinating it with a database relating to your plant, and providing information as to what you should be doing with your plant.

Design-wise, Parrot has crafted this to look organic, with a brown hand-height stick that looks like a small plant that’s growing, with a flat stick protruding from below to let you push the Flower Power directly into the soil and let it stand up.

Think of the signs you normally push into soil to indicate what each plant is, and replace the sign with a set of sensors encased in plastic. Essentially, that’s what the Flower Power is, and it will track a plant through the information it tracks.

Making it work is very easy, and you simply pull battery compartment open, load a single AAA in, and close it up. The little light up top will blink a few times and then switch off, ready for you to run the app.

Run the Parrot Flower Power app and it will automatically look for the Flower Power device in question, with no need to add it to your Bluetooth settings, the app doing all the work. Once you find the right one, you select it, and then add the plant you intend to monitor. You can browse through the insane amount of plants out there in Parrot’s system, choose the right one, and then take a picture of your own plants so you know which one you’re monitoring.

And then you wait.

You wait for the Flower Power to analyse what’s going on for 24 hours, and then come back and see its diagnosis.