Tag Archives: collars and implants

Make your houseplants smile with ATtiny85

This simple sensor can tell you exactly how your plants “feel.”

Faced with hectic schedules, it is often easy for us to forget to water our favorite plants. Typically the strong and silent type, plants likely won’t notify you when they are in need of a drink or some nutrients. However, that may all change after one Maker’s clever Atmel based design which now provides plant owners with a visual representation of just how their plant is feeling.


“Thanasisloi7” hooked an ATtiny85 to a soil hydrometer sensor that analyzes the current moisture within the plants soil. When the soil is properly watered, an LED matrix displays a happy face. Conversely, when the soil moisture falls below a specified level, the smiling face disappears. Thus, any plant owner with common sense can know when to replenish the pot’s water supply.


Though just a simple project, this quick design will make sure you never let your plants go thirsty again. As they say, a smile is worth a thousand words. Looking to build a better bond with your plants? Check out his official project page here.

This isn’t the first time once-ordinary objects have been transformed into “sentient beings.” Last summer, digital agency Soap Creative launched Cars That Feel, an interactive festival installation designed with Toyota. The project featured a number of cars, each of which boasted their own personality and connected with people via light projections, color and sound. The vehicles were equipped six internal BenQ projectors, Atmel powered controllers and high intensity LED light rigs. Meanwhile, a custom app was tasked with controlling internal projection mapping, lighting, sound and animation.

$2.6 billion for wearable (animal) tech

Analysts at IDTechEx recently highlighted the lucrative potential of wearable tech for animals. Example such technology for pets and livestock include ultrasound-delivering treatment patches, electronic saddle optimization for horses, as well as collars capable of tracking, identifying and diagnosing.

“Multi-functionality is a trend as with the human equivalents, both facing the challenge of ‘do more but stay simple to use.’ Increased sophistication of function is the order of the day and now mobile phones can often access the data, replacing costly infrastructure, again mimicking the situation with human equivalents,” an IDTechEx analyst explained.

“[We] forecast that the global market for wearable animal tech will reach $2.6 billion in 2025. IDTechEx [also] predicts that during the next decade expenditure on medical diagnosis devices will increase in value market share from 11% to 23% and medical treatment (such as heating, cooling, ultrasound and drug delivery) will increase from a mere 1% to 13%.”

According to the analyst, a percentage of RFID tagging will ultimately be subsumed by diagnostic devices that look the same, such as newly available stomach boluses, collars and implants.

“[The] legal push is in two directions, from requiring tagging of many forms of livestock in certain jurisdictions for disease control and quality improvement to some seeking to ban sale of ‘inhumane’ dog training collars that administer electric shocks,” the analyst added.

“Cameras on pets are surprisingly popular and a dog’s bark can now be interpreted and radioed to the owner when away. The number of protected fish tagged already runs into millions, tagging racing pigeons is a big business too and even bees are being tagged nowadays.”

Interested in learning more? You can check out the full IDTechEx report on wearable technology for animals here.