Who hasn't killed at least one houseplant in their time? Personally, I have given up trying to nurture these fussy organisms altogether and my house is now a green-free zone. Technology like the Koubachi Wi-Fi Plant Sensor might entice me to consider trying to bring the outdoors in once more though - it's designed to take all the hard work out of keeping plants alive while they reside in the unnatural environment that are our homes.
Koubachi is a company that cares more about plants than I have ever been able to. It offers a range of products and services that should, if used correctly, avoid the sad sight of plants withering away due to simple mistakes being made. Over-watering or not watering enough, a lack of light or too much light, too high or too low room temperature; all of these can irrevocably damage a plant's chance of survival. Barring a lack of common sense on the part of the human in this equation, there is now solace to be found in the form of the company's latest product.
It's called the Koubachi Wi-Fi Plant Sensor and it acts as a sentry on duty watching over a plant to ensure it's being treated well. The device incorporates sensors determining the level of moisture present in the soil, the amount of light reaching the leaves, and the temperature in the plant's immediate surroundings. The data that is collected gets sent via the Wi-Fi module present within the sensor to the cloud and onto Koubachi's servers. From there it gets synced to your interface of choice (a Web app viewed via browser or an iOS app for Apple devices), and you receive detailed information as to the health of your plant and what measures, if any, need to be taken in order to make it more comfortable.
The Koubachi Wi-Fi Plant Sensor costs €129 (US$168). Thankfully you only need to buy an individual sensor rather than one for each plant in your house. By gaining data about each plant and its environment it's possible for the sensor to then guesstimate what the plant needs and when it needs it. As long as it remains in the same position, naturally.
Even if you don't fancy shelling out the asking price for the Wi-Fi Plant Sensor you can still sign up to use the Web app or download and install the iOS app. Both apps are free and require calibrating to overcome the lack of on-the-spot data the Plant Sensor provides. Once set up for specific plants, soil conditions and geographical data, a user receives push notifications when a plant needs some loving attention in order to stay healthy.
The one small downside of this device, and others like it, is the need for someone still to maintain the plant. Which is a struggle for those of us who aren't naturally green-fingered. Perhaps I'm dreaming when I imagine a device that not only monitors but also takes care of my houseplants for me.