These bamboo characters will become friends with your plants.
Have you ever wanted to know the exact moment that your precious plants get thirsty? A Maker by the name of Dickson Chow has created an environmental monitor system called Plant Friends that will tell you just that.
The environment monitoring solution is comprised of two sub-systems: wireless sensor nodes in the form of cute, laser-cut bamboo characters and a base station. The adorable bunny, robot and dinosaur nodes monitor soil moisture, air temperature and humidity of your indoor plants, and will alert you via email or SMS when they are in need of a drink. Aside from these notifications, Chow envisions his Plant Friends having the ability to:
- Monitor multiple plants.
- Run on batteries.
- Be low power, maybe having to swap each battery every 4-6 months.
- Include an Android app.
- Come with little to no maintenance.
- Have an enclosure to organize and protect the electronics.
To accomplish this, Chow embedded each bamboo character with an open-soure Moteino dev board (ATmega328P) along with sensors (moisture, humidity and temperature), an indicator LED light and a battery meter. The Maker says he elected to use Moteino instead of the Arduino Uno as the clone comes with an optional radio transceiver, which enables the Plant Friends to transmit and receive data wirelessly.
Each character is assigned to an individual plant. Information such as temperature, humidity and soil moisture is collected by the sensor, and sent over to the base station via its transceiver. The hub houses another Moteino that acts as a gateway to receive the RF signals, a USB Wi-Fi adapter, and a Raspberry Pi where the data is stored in a MySQL database. The information is then analyzed and displayed on an accompanying Android app. This allows any plant-grower to look at real-time and historical data right on their phone.
Prone to dying plants? With spring officially here, you may want to check out Plant Friends.